Many of us recently received, or will soon receive, stimulus money from the U.S. government. Regardless of our opinions about the stimulus package, each of us have an opportunity to glorify God with these checks.
Here are four ways we might do that.
1. Give Thanks for God’s Provision
The past year has been hard. It’s been filled with loss and disappointment, and left many of us crying out to God for help. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, been furloughed, or can’t work as many hours as you did before. Maybe the culmination of years of financial pressure have collided with an unexpected expense, and you just can’t afford it.
If that is you, receive your check with thanks! God cares for you, he sees your struggles, and in his providence, this is one way he’s chosen to provide for you. This isn’t merely an action of our government. God’s sovereign hand is at work—don’t miss it. Just as he feeds the birds of the air, he is taking care of you (Matt. 6:26). Rejoice and be glad! Praise God for his provision today, and trust him for your tomorrow.
2. Bless Your Friends and Family
Generosity is a fruit of regenerated hearts. It is the evidence of a person conforming into the image of our Savior, who gave his very life for us (2 Cor. 8:9). Our first impulse might be to use this money for ourselves, but perhaps God is calling us to generosity instead.
Maybe you aren’t in financial need, but you know people who are. Has your friend lost a job? Does your neighbor need a car repair? Pray and consider how you might play a part in God’s provision for them. If nobody immediately comes to mind, see if your church has a benevolence fund for members in financial difficulty.
This “extra” money might also enable you to bless people in ways you usually can’t afford. Do you have a weary friend who would be blessed by a gift card to a favorite take-out restaurant? Can you purchase a plane ticket to visit a long-distance relative who is struggling with loneliness? Could you buy and give away copies of a book that encouraged you this year?
There are countless ways we can steward our money to bless others. Consider making a list of people and brainstorming how you can show love in a tangible way.
3. Donate to Charity
There is great need in our world. Our communities are riddled with pain. The ripple effects of the pandemic have increased hunger and poverty in developing nations. (In Yemen alone, 80 percent of the population needs emergency relief and humanitarian assistance.) While this pandemic may have paused certain aspects of our lives, it didn’t pause the suffering others were already facing. Refugees are still fleeing violence. Christians are still being persecuted. Men and women are still being enslaved. Children are still being abandoned and abused.
Though every suffering person’s greatest need is salvation and the hope of eternity with Christ, God cares about their physical and temporary needs, too. Jesus had compassion on the sick and the hungry (Matt. 14:14, Matt. 15:32). True religion involves caring for widows and orphans (James 1:27). Living as God’s people means clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and giving drink to the thirsty (Matt. 25:34-36).
Though deeds of mercy should always mark our lives, this is a particular opportunity “to be generous and ready to share” (1 Tim. 6:18). There are many organizations doing compelling work with wisdom, integrity, and long-term effectiveness, and it is a joy to partner with them! If you’re not sure where to give, ask someone for a recommendation. Charity Navigator is also a helpful resource.
4. Give to Your Church
As church membership continues to decline in the United States, many churches are overstretched and under-resourced. With the additional effect of the pandemic, those challenges have intensified.
Giving to your local church doesn’t feel as exciting as giving to other charitable causes. It’s easier to garner enthusiasm about feeding orphans than paying a church’s electric bill. But the truth is, when we give to our churches, we’re not just giving to keep the lights on—we are helping our churches shine the light of Christ!
God is still building his kingdom, and we are still sent to make disciples of all nations. This mission isn’t just accomplished by missionaries traveling to unreached people groups; it happens through ordinary churches, where ordinary pastors preach God’s Word to ordinary people. All around us, people are lost in their sin. And God has chosen the church—manifested in countless local congregations—to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Rather than spending money on things that will pass away, we can spend it to help build a kingdom that is imperishable and unfading.
Whether we receive this money as a gracious blessing of God’s provision or give it away to bless someone else, we have been given an opportunity to glorify God. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
Author’s note: This article was first published at The Gospel Coalition