My children are privileged. They live in a house. They have food to eat EVERY SINGLE DAY! They not only get one meal, they get three...plus snacks! They have clean water on a consistent basis. They overeat at times and feel sick because of it. Many of our "poor" still have computers and cell phones in this country.
This is the time of year when we receive requests to make an end of the year donation to one charity or another. Some requests are from foundations trying to stamp out hunger, others want to provide school supplies for needy children here or abroad. Animal focused charities want help so they can provide food and the necessary care for abused or neglected cats and dogs. Local organizations are trying to raise awareness about the homeless dilemma and the need for warm clothing on these bitingly cold pre-winter nights. From now through Christmas we remember the poor, the sick and the suffering. But almsgiving isn't just for the holidays.
How can we participate in the commandment from Christ to love Him and to love our neighbors as ourselves? How can we help our children to become doers and not only hearers of the Word by giving to those in need?
This week I took a canning jar from my cupboard, made a slot in the lid and duct taped around the rim so as to discourage any of my boys from being tempted to pocket the cash. I then made a list of 12 charities. Our jar if for spare change or any money they may want to contribute and at the end of each month we will count up the "willing donations" and give them to a charity.
Here is our list:
ALPHA CENTER: is a local Christian medical clinic that serves our community by providing free services and education related to sexual health. We have served the Larimer County area since 1985, so we are uniquely qualified and experienced to understand what you are going through. All of our services are free thanks to the generous support of many individuals, businesses and churches in our community who recognize the need for a safe support system for individuals making important decisions related to their sexual health and unplanned pregnancies.
FOCUS North America: National movement of Orthodox Christians, united in faith and joined by a desire to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty in communities across America.
These are just our ideas. There are SO many opportunities to give year round. It may be the gift of time at a retirement home sitting and listening to stories our elderly friends want to share. Perhaps you have older children and can "go" and "do" unlike those of us with little ones. Making homeless bags to pass out or making cookies for someone in the neighborhood who is having a difficult time are wonderful ways to give. Whatever the act of kindness, or whichever charities you choose to participate in, know that you and your children have the opportunity to be the very hands of Christ as you serve others.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.” Luke 21:1-4
Let us give without reservation. Let us give much if we have great abundance. And let us give joyfully if we have only a little for the God of the universe can multiply even a small offering as a great blessing to His people.
To God be the Glory. Amen!