Friends, I have all these posts brewing in my head, but not enough time to flesh them out, let alone sit down and write them. But I want to issue an invitation to you as you enter your weekend.
Earlier this week, a mailing came to our home from the local Salvation Army. I have to confess that since we get donation-request mailings from lots of organizations, I usually toss them straight in the trash. We have a plan for giving at specific times, so I don't feel the need to be donating year round. I feel a little guilty every time, but such is my practice.
That afternoon, however, I was curious. Having never received anything from our local Salvation Army, I felt compelled to open up the envelope. Inside was an invitation to give, using one of three included vouchers, to provide for a local family this Christmas.
One voucher was what our family spends on one meal out, without thinking.
To provide for a family of five equaled what I easily charge at Target, beyond my list.
I had plans to buy myself a new Christmas sweater this year, about that price.
Had plans, I say, because in that moment the Lord spoke to my heart. Heather, you have a closet and dresser full of clothes. Time to change your plans for that money.
Before I allowed myself to think twice, I wrote the check, sealed the envelope, stamped it, and lifted the flag on the mailbox for the next day's pickup. Since that day, I have felt a little sad about not getting that sweater. I mean, who doesn't love a new sweater?! But better is the joy of knowing those dollars will have a far greater impact than my personal happiness.
Why am I telling you this story? I hate telling stories like this, for fear they will be interpreted as boasting, which is not my goal. As I was challenged by the Lord to put my faith into practice, I want to pass along the charge. The lesson I learned from the experience is two-fold. First, will I listen more often when God is tapping me on the shoulder? And second, in this season of remembering God's greatest gift, will I give sacrificially as an act of worship?
So I extend the invitation to you to apply those lessons to your life over the next couple of weeks as Christmas approaches, and beyond.
- Listen for God's voice as he offers you opportunities to be generous with your time, money, energy, or stuff.
- Consider what you can give up so another can have, boldly worshiping the Lord in your heart as you give.
Truth be told, I always get a little fearful in these things, knowing that the Lord will probably ask more of me than I want to give! Remembering my Savior, and all He sacrificed for me from the manger to the cross, humbles me and lifts me up, giving me boldness to obey, even when it stretches me. We grow in the giving and we get to see God provide as we let go of our self-protection and self-preservation! He is faithful; Christmas is proof.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~Jesus (Matthew 6:31-33)