I feel that we focus too much on how much we give rather than how much is accomplished with what we give. I realized a few months ago that I had very little idea exactly where the money I was giving to my local church and other organizations was actually going. Once I started looking into it, I discovered a lot that I’d like to share in this post and a few others. I also would really like to hear what others think on these topics. I think I had put a reasonable amount of effort in selecting reputable charities even before starting this process and that the church we support has always been wise with how they spent the offerings collected. I somewhat had a mindset of I am doing my part by giving and trusting God to take care of the rest. If any of it was being misused, someone else would need to answer to God for that. While we may not necessarily be accountable if our gifts are not used in the best way possible, I’m sure me being able to wash my hands of it is of little comfort to those missing out on help they should have received. Beyond that, I feel we do bare some responsibility to ensure our gifts are being used efficiently. I’ve heard the example from Mark 14:3-9 of Mary “inefficiently” using expensive perfume on Jesus instead of selling it and giving money to the poor as an example of why we should just give and not be concerned with how the gifts are used. I don’t believe that is the message from this passage. Mary wasn’t being careless with the resources, and Jesus wasn’t giving us a license to do the same. There was a purpose to what she was doing, the disciples just didn’t know what it was yet. There is no shortage of other verses, such as the parable of the talents, where we are told to be good stewards of the resources God has entrusted us with. I’m going to post several other threads covering what I learned during this process, but let me finish this one by stating I don’t have any special experience in this area. I’ve never operated a charity or been on a missions trip. I have no doubt operating a charity is extremely difficult and while there are some bad apples, I think the majority of charities and ministries are doing their best and we shouldn’t be too quick to judge. At the same time there are definitely some leaders who are more talented than others at producing effective results and as good stewards of the resources God has entrusted us with, I believe it is our responsibility to seek out the organizations producing good fruit and help them to thrive, while letting the ones who are not die off. What do you think? Is our responsibility just to give and trust God to put the resources to best use? Do we bare any responsibility to ensure what we give is being used well?