It’s December and I’m kind of annoyed. Every day, my email inbox and my mailbox alike are full of requests for donations. My social media feed is full of Random Acts of Kindness and causes to give to and mushy good stories. What the…?!?
The reason I’m annoyed…
…is because I’m wondering where all of this is the rest of the year? Is it only in December that people give to good causes? Is it only in December that people do Random Acts of Kindness? What is everyone doing the rest of the year?
I’ve been reflecting on why this annoys me so much. Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve decided it’s because I’ve learned that this giving attitude should be a thread throughout my life. All year long. This thread runs deep – not because of who I am (because honestly, I fight the stinginess inside me), but because of those around me.
My grandmother was famous for giving away homemade bread and cinnamon rolls. Man, she made some good bread! As a single mom who had a community of those that cared for her and did things for her, this was her reward. I often wonder if those that helped her really were in it for the bread. “Hmmm… What can I do to get some of that bread? Maybe she has a faucet that needs fixed? Do we have any produce left from the garden? How is her lawnmower doing?”
My mother is the most generous person I know. She would tell you that it flows out of learning not to hang on to things. Growing up in that bread-giving household meant that wants were always superseded by needs, so as an adult, she would hang onto things out of fear. Her story of how Jesus transformed that into a generous spirit is one I wish you all could hear (but that’s for another day). Her heart opens to anyone with need and if she has a way, you can count on her to try her hardest to fill it!
My husband taught me that it’s all God’s money anyway. When we were first married, he challenged my thinking on what a tithe is. When we discussed other’s needs or causes that tugged our hearts, he encouraged me to give sacrificially. He taught me that giving is bigger than I am.
My pastor once gave this example, “Instead of asking God how much you should give…put everything you have on the table and ask him how much you can have.” OUCH! That will challenge your thinking!
These examples have shaped me, changed me. I consider it a victory if, when considering a gift to a cause or charity, my number is bigger than my husband’s number. It’s only happened three times in 20 years, but hey, I’ve got to take victory where I can.
The old adage goes, “It is better to give than to receive.” As a kid, I thought they were full of bologna. Are you kidding me? But as I’ve learned to give, really give, I’ve found that it is true. True in the truest way. The wondrous feeling that I can be a part of something bigger than myself can be overwhelming. Whether I make a meal for someone, bust blight in a Detroit neighborhood or donate diapers for new moms or money for clean water across the world, it fills this part of my heart that I didn’t know needed filled.
That, my friends, is worth feeling all year long. Not just in December.
But here we are, sitting in a December and if you are wanting to experience that wondrous feeling, here are some causes that I love:
Open Doors – persecuted Christians worldwide
Living Water, International – access to clean water across the world
Compassion International – sponsor a child and change a community
Abigayle’s Place – home for women that have chosen life over abortion in difficult circumstances
Door International – Bible translation and ministry to the deaf community worldwide
Purple Heart – programs helping veterans and their families
On Eagle’s Wings – Native American teens bringing hope to Native American teens on reservations (did you know their suicide rate is through the roof!?!)
Vietnam Veterans of America – they pick up that stuff you are purging at your door!
Compassion Pregnancy Center – giving prenatal and postnatal care to mamas in hard situations
Try it: Give!