Have you ever been inspired to be involved in the community or to give to those in need, but you feel as if you don’t have the financial means to contribute? We hear it all the time: every little bit helps.. but maybe the charity is so large that you feel your small contribution won’t change anything?
My thoughts this morning have been focused on this subject. Giving. Look up giving in the dictionary and you will find that it means “to share, bestow, contribute, administer, let go of, or to deliver.” All are simple terms that explain the motions of giving, and different forms of it. But is money the only thing we can give? Food, blankets, other material things are also common. Blood, too. You can always give blood (eek!).
Personally, I grew up in a modest family that has fought to stay afloat. Moving from country to country, economy to economy, we have perfected the scary task of making ends meet. We’ve seen tough times and we’ve seen good times. My personal struggle has always been that I never felt that if I donated the extra money I had to charity, that small amount would never do any good. It’s a silly thought, but I’m sure others out there feel the same way.
Have you ever pondered what God wants you give freely? Immediately my mind jumps to groups of church members going to Haiti every summer. But really, what has God blessed you with abundantly, on a daily basis? Chances are it’s not green paper, or a bunch of blankets, or a farm to grow food on. Examine your life right now and see what you have in abundance, every day. Here’s the important thing: look everywhere but your bank account.
Are you good at talking to people? Maybe writing is your strength. Maybe you love building things, or creating art, or write songs that help you connect with others. You could be blessed with spreading God’s Word in such a way that resonates even with those who don’t want to hear it. I know people who are full of wisdom, yet they can’t draw or sing or play a thing. But they consistently change lives through relationships and being a good neighbor and friend first. The world doesn’t owe you anything, but you owe it to yourself to connect with others and be a positive influence. To give someone else encouragement and support in time of hurt, or counsel in time of confusion, are good deeds with tremendous value. This world lacks compassion, and people lack interactions with others. Be present, and be a friend.
The Lord blesses all of us with some sort of talent. For me, I’ve always had the wish to help others, because there are great people in this world who have helped my family. I’ve always been a sensitive, compassionate person. The Lord has definitely blessed me with a sensitive heart. Possibly even too sensitive at times. Growing up, I was way too wise for my age and felt way too much emotional pain for the normal child. Isn’t it weird to think of compassion as a talent? There are people out there who spend good portions of their lives without knowing the joys that come with compassion and empathy. There are those who wish they could open up more and feel something, anything, but they somehow aren’t able to. They feel ‘numb’. I’ve been there too, believe me.
My sensitivity affects all aspects of my life- from my photography work, to my part-time retail job, to my personal relationships. I’m always told I photograph and see things that no one else sees. It’s because I’m sensitive enough to pick up on them. I observe, and then photograph. The same concept applies to how I deal with people. Anxiety is something that I’ve battled since I was little, so I had to learn ways to battle the doubts. Gone are my fears of not being good enough and not having anything valuable to contribute, because I have learned to stop freaking out about my bank account, or job status, or future, and start appreciating relationships and people I come in contact with on a daily basis.
1 Corinthians 15:58 is a great verse that reminds us to give our hearts fully to doing good in this world. It doesn’t mention money, either. If you’ve been in a rut in regards to how or what you should give, think of that verse as you examine your life and what you can contribute to those in need around you. If your significant other or family member or classmate is having a rough day, pick them up. Reach out. Build relationships. Stand up for the person in your class who gets picked on. Connect. Forgive. Share. Volunteer at school or church or work. Mow a lawn or two for neighbors who can’t. Do so face to face, person to person, as Christ did, with all your heart and The Lord’s blessing! Because He is for you and I, and He has equipped us with everything we need to start small and dream big.