What Would Calvin Think about #GivingTuesday

What Would Calvin Think about #GivingTuesday

A guest post by Chip Hardwick

Born just 70 years after Gutenberg built his first printing press, digital communication and social media were probably not even figments of John Calvin’s imagination. However, Calvin thought a lot about “helpfulness for our neighbor” and that is the thrust of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that relies on the power of social media. Calvin would applaud the neighborliness that #GivingTuesday facilitates.

Calvin was very concerned the human inclination to put ourselves before others—a tendency which does not seem to have changed much in the 500 years since Luther pounded the 95 theses on the Wittenberg Door. At the holidays, it’s especially tempting to put our focus on gifts for our friends and family members.

Calvin’s Institutes has helpful words for us as we examine our holiday priorities. He writes there that “the sum of the Christian life [is] the denial of ourselves” and that “self-renunciation leads to proper helpfulness toward our neighbors.” Calvin reminds us that following Jesus means joining his mission to put others’ well-being ahead of our own.

#GivingTuesday helps us to expand our focus beyond those we know and love, so that we’ll also care for people next door and around the world—even ones we don’t know or don’t love!  As we give generously, we invest in a world that looks more and more the way God longs for it to be.  Calvin sought to align the church with God’s desire for our world, and #GivingTuesday is an opportunity for us to move toward that vision.

Chip Hardwick is director of Theology, Formation and Evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Support Presbyterian Mission on #GivingTuesday, November 28

  • Make a gift by visiting the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s #GivingTuesday webpage.
  • On social media, post an UnSelfie, a photo of yourself that promotes a cause you support.
  • Tweet using the hashtag, #GivingTuesday

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