Posts Tagged ‘gifts’

Giving on our Own Terms

October 20, 2015

“”Samuel replied. “Has the Lord as much pleasure in your burnt offerings and sacrifices as in your obedience?  Obedience is far better than sacrifice.  He is much more interested in your listening to Him than in your offering the fat of rams to Him. I Samuel 16:22

When I was a single person, I would have described myself as generous.  I was always thinking of nice things to do for people, gifts to give, cards to send and the like.  However, when I got married, I found out what it was like to give because someone asked me to.  Any married person knows your spouse may want you to go someplace or do something when you have no interest, no energy or just don’t feel like it.  Giving on someone else’s terms is always more generous than giving on your terms, because it involves sacrifice.

God knows these things.  Buying or bringing a lamb to sacrifice was simpler for an old testament Jew than obedience– especially when obedience required more than a one-time gift.  Obedience may mean giving up a sin, a bad habit, a relationship, or it may mean doing something that, for whatever reason, we don’t feel like doing.  But God wants our love.  He wants relationship with us.  He wants us to listen to what He likes and wants.  He won’t be happy with our half-hearted one-time offerings that we give because we feel like it.  Many times the biggest part of a gift is the sacrifice that went into it.  That is real love.

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What Do I Want

September 21, 2009

When it comes to the world of work, I think our default setting is “What do I want?”  We ask children from a young age what they want to be when they grow up.  However, while what we like and what we are good at are similar most times, questionnaires and tests to find out what we like may be asking the wrong question when we are trying to find out our vocation or calling.  It is indeed useful to know our talents and gifts, but the next question ought to be, what kinds of things are God and his people doing around me.  When I see a field of work or organization or ministry that grabs my passion, then I need to ask what is my fit in that place.  What can I do to advance the work of this entity with the gifts and skill sets I possess.  We ought to be asking, “where can I be the best I can possibly be for God?”.  We love God and the more we love Him, the less we want to give him mediocrity.  Asking how to give Him the very best development of everything He has given me, is a different question than “What do I Want?”  Its a God-centered and God’s work centered question rather than a “me” centered question.

Dollar and Discount Stores part 2

March 20, 2008

I was poking fun at dollar and discount stores in my last post, but I truly love them.  There are so many ways to use dollar and discount stores to help people or bring them happiness when you, yourself, are on a tight budget.

One organization that gives the poorest of poor children a Christmas is Samaritan’s Purse.  Every Christmas they collect shoe boxes with gifts for poor children all over the world.  The gifts can be small toys, candy, gum, pencils, toothbrushes, crayons and small color books, notebooks, etc.  Seems so small to us, but to a child who has never before received a Christmas gift, it means the world.  You can fill such a shoebox at a dollar store for about $10.  If you make a few local phone calls, you can find a location near you where they are collecting the shoeboxes, and take in yours.  The organization is called Samaritan’s Purse, and you can find them online to see what happens to the shoeboxes, and how many were distributed last year.

Another thing you can do with your dollar store purchases is fill hospital patient kits for Mercy Ships.  Right now Mercy Ships has both hospital ship-based and land-based surgery facilities in West Africa.  If you didn’t know, West Africa was torn by years of civil war, and many people there have almost nothing.  When they check into the hospital they have nothing to bring with them.  At a dollar store you can get a plastic or canvas or cloth bag, and fill it with a bath towel and washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of wet wipes, a bath sponge, and a hand held mirror.  You can do all this for  about $12 to $15 at a dollar store.  You can send your bag to Mercy Ships International Headquarters in Lindale, Texas.  Check out their website at www.mercyships.org

I’m sure there are dozens or hundreds of opportunities online to do good using dollar store purchases.  When we are on tight budgets ourselves, we are tempted to think whatever we can do is too small to do any good.  Thats not true.  Some very small gifts mean a huge difference to the person who receives them.

When I lost my first child, it was right before Christmas time.  I was in the hospital Christmas Eve, a grieving mom with empty arms.  On Christmas morning, I found on the overhead table, a small stocking.  It had a comb, some candy and a couple other items.  It also had a card inside that said “God has not forgotten you.  He knows you are here.  We have not forgotten you either, and you are in our prayers.”  I don’t know the people who left it, but I can tell you it meant the world to me at that time, and I never forgot it.

Do whatever good you can–its never too small.  Smiles are free, and you never know but your smile may be the only one someone got that day.

Nonni