Posts Tagged ‘giving’

Give What You Can

April 19, 2016

“If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give.  God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t”  2 Corinthians 8:12

So often when we are asked to give, we think “Oh I can’t give much right now, I have all these expenses.”  And we end up giving nothing.  But if we love God and we want to give out of love for Him, we will have a different mindset.  We’ll think, “What can I give?”  And we’ll look for ways and means to give all we can out of a heart of love.  The same thing happens as we age.  As the years go by there are things we can no longer do, and things we don’t do as well as we used to.  We may also have less income than we used to, and less in the way of things.  But when we think with a heart of love, we discover we have sources we never tapped before.  We have more time, more experience, perhaps more patience, well defined skills we can teach, the understanding that comes from having lived through many situations and survived them.  In the same way, asking “what can I give?” opens up venues we possibly haven’t thought of before.  We may not have a lot of money, but we may find money in items we no longer use, a skill we can donate, some money we can save by doing something differently, and so on.  The trick is to think “Can” instead of “Can’t”.  Two school age kids baked and sold cookies for a couple years until they were able to build a clinic overseas.  Who would have thought two school age kids could have funded the building of a clinic?  But they didn’t think about what they didn’t have–they thought “what can I do?”


Charity and Who Gets the Credit

January 28, 2016

“And if, as my representatives you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded”  Matt 10:42

Jesus didn’t specify who deserved our charity, or our kindness.  He said even the smallest kindness would be rewarded.  But He put a big “if” in there too.  We are to give as His representatives.  Why would that be?  Perhaps its because Jesus wanted the good news of His Grace and His great Salvation to be spread.  But perhaps there is another reason as well.  Who gets the credit for our charitable giving?  Do we do it so we shine?  Or do we do our kindness anonymously, but make sure people know that all things come from Jesus.  All we have to give came from Him, and our impulse to give came from Him also.  How do you let people know that?  He will guide us through His Spirit toward the best way to do that in the situation, but our priority needs to be shining the light on Jesus Love, not on ourselves.

The Alabaster Jar

March 15, 2010

Lord, I’m looking at Your response to the woman who poured perfume over You, and I see some new things.  I see extravagance on her part we nust never see today.  She sacrificed probably a year’s wages to honor You.  How many of us have hearts like that?  This alabaster jar of perfume may have been her dowery.  She sacrificed, in a sense, her whole future for love of You.  I see a motive of pure love and sacrifice of literally all she had.  She may not have plotted shrewdly where her gift could do the most good, but she gave out of the deepest, most beautiful desire to honor You.  You were pleased.

The Story of Santa Claus as I told it to my Children

February 17, 2010

Long ago there was a holy man named Nicholas, who wanted more than anything to give Jesus a gift on his birthday.   But what can you give to someone who owns the whole universe?  Then Nicholas remembered when Jesus walked the earth, He said whatever you do for the least important people,  you do for Him.  So Nicholas decided a very pleasing gift for Jesus would be to visit the children of his city, carrying gifts for them–clothing, food and special things that delight children.  Nicholas did this for years, using a carriage if Christmas were warm, and a sleigh when it snowed.  Eventually God called Nicholas home, and that Christmas all the people wondered who would visit the children on Christmas Eve.  Gradually they realized they could visit the children themselves.  And that year, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, big brothers and big sisters and older cousins and friends, all secretly left gifts for the children on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas morning the children were so surprised.   “Who left these gifts for us?”  they asked.  And the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, big brothers, big sisters and cousins and friends all smiled and winked and said “Could it be Nicholas, come down from heaven for this one night?”  Well, the tradition continued for years and years, down to this very day .  Nicholas eventually was called Saint Nicholas, and in the language of little children, who can’t always speak plainly, he became Santa Claus.

“Giving Back” or “giving back what?”

February 26, 2008

I think the seventh most important thing in life is “giving back”.  Now the “giving back” comment is one you hear so often it really sounds overworn and overdone.  Sounds like an advertisement for the United Way or some volunteer bureau.  I have actually heard people ask “giving back what?”  of “giving back to whom?”  So, I realize the saying might not adequately reflect what I am trying to convey.

I’ll just say there is joy in giving.  No matter how grateful you feel for the blessings you received, or how ungrateful you feel for the troubles you’ve had, there is still joy in giving.  Something about giving makes you feel richer, kinder, more powerful and more significant.  You couldn’t give if you were too poor, too weak, to mean or too invisible.  But no one is any of those things.  Everyone has something to give, and because we do, we are necessarily blessed. 

Have you ever noticed that when you act kindly, you feel good?  When you act generously, you feel powerful and rich?  When you act with compassion, you feel loving?  Whatever you act, the emotions follow.  There’s a whole biological theory built around this, but I’m no scientist.  I just know what I see and experience.

Have you ever felt so poor you felt you had nothing to give?  How about giving a smile?  Unless you’ve just had your face frozen at the dentist, you can smile.  Come on now, you don’t feel like it?  Smile anyway.  Nine times out of ten, the smile will be returned.  You have not only added a bit of sunshine to someone’s day, but now they have added some to yours.  Maybe someone needs a hand–a door held open, something dropped that they can’t pick up, being “let in” to a long line of traffic.  You might not see the smile or wave of the hand, but you made someone’s moment a little easier.  Doesn’t that make you feel powerful?

What about the gift of time?  I have heard it said that people would rather give their money than their time, because time seems in such short supply in this busy world.  But what would you rather do, watch television, surf the internet, or give an hour to someone who could really use the helping hand or the company.  We all have time, its just a matter of choice how we spend it.

We can give time to organized activity, and some of that can be really fun and uplifting.  I believe, that just as we should work within the circle of our “calling”, we should also volunteer where it makes us happy to do so.  When we get to the point where our volunteering stresses us or wears us out, we should do something else.  After all, we’re doing this for love, not pay, and therefore we ought to love what we are doing.  The more we love what we are doing and have fun doing it, the more we refill our “giving pot” so we can give some more.