Q: Toward the end of the year we get dozens of letters from various ministries and charities asking for money. I'm sure they're all worthy, and we'd like to help them, but we can't support everything. How should we decide which ones to support? -- Mrs. A.K.
A: I'm thankful you don't simply toss these letters in the wastebasket; many organizations (including our own) simply wouldn't exist if people didn't support them with their financial gifts. And many of them especially depend on year-end giving to continue their work.
No, you can't support every worthy cause -- nor does God expect you to. If they are doing God's work, you can safely assume that He will raise up others to support the organizations you can't support (although you can still support them with your prayers). I always encourage people to give first of all to their local church, and only then consider other ministries and charities.
Begin by asking God to guide you as you give. He knows which organizations need your support; ask Him to help you find them. Study them to know what they are doing; check if they are known for having high ethical and financial standards; seek advice from your pastor or other knowledgeable person.
Most of all, remember that everything you have comes from God, and He wants you to use it all for His glory. We live in the richest nation the world has ever known, and most of us could give far more than we actually do. Don't see your giving only as a responsibility, therefore, but as an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of others. Remember the example of the Macedonians, who "Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.... even beyond their ability" (2 Corinthians 8:2-3).
Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 877-2-GRAHAM, or visit the webite for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.