Life, Love, & Giving

Finally posting my final post for #itsaboutgiving for Compassion International.

I only recently started blogging with Compassion, the #itsaboutgiving was my first assignment.  The goal of this campaign was to raise $20,000 for children in need around the world.  As of December 17, we (all Compassion bloggers) had only raised $532.

Our final assignment is to raise $100 for children in poverty.

That’s really not a lot.  10 people giving $10.  5 people giving $20.  1 person giving $100.  100 people giving $1.  There’s a lot of ways to break it down, but it’s really not a lot of money for one person.

If you are like me, you probably have a lot of different ministries, charities, and other groups on your radar.  This time of the year, my Facebook feed looks like a giant list of needs that need to met, money needing to be raised, and a reminder of how much need exists in our world today.  Simply overwhelms me at times.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to give back.  It’s on pretty much everyone’s mind.  But the need for some remains throughout the year.

Compassion serves children — many of whom do not have parents or they have parents who are unable to provide their most basic of needs — water, food, shelter, and schooling. Compassion steps in, through amazing, generous people who give, to stand in the gap for these beautiful children.

They live in places where Christmas is another day to scavenge for food, not feast.  A day to walk miles and miles to find water, often times contaminated and dirty.  There is no tree.  There is no rushing to open presents, because there are no presents.

When you give through the Gift Catalog, local partner churches in these countries are able to personally hand these children a gift, one that will meet their needs and to share the love of Jesus with these children.

It’s not too late to give.  Can you give just $10 today to help these children?  Be a part of the solution, stand in the gap for these children and help meet a desperate need.

You are the solution.  Each of us has a part to play in this bigger picture of the world.  What is your part?

God bless you, dear readers, as we finish 2012 and look forward to beginning 2013.

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Giving in 2012

Let’s get the basics out of the way…I strongly encourage you to check out Compassion’s catalog.  You can purchase gifts and make donations that give life and bring God’s love and light to a dark world.  As you read and think about what giving Biblically means in your life, I encourage you to consider Compassion.  They are a fantastic organization doing great work around the world for “the least of these.”  #itsaboutgiving

Question posed:  What does it look like to give Biblically in today’s culture?

Our culture has changed dramatically over the last decade or so, with the boom of technology and growth of the internet.

When I was younger, to give meant getting a name of the giving tree at the local mall or dropping some coins in the Salvation Army bucket.  I was not exposed to the need beyond my community.  I knew it existed, but I didn’t REALLY know the need.

Now, we are bombarded by awareness of need and tragedy.  My Facebook feed has more requests for donations than status updates.  Every time I open my email, I feel the need that exists.

But then are we desensitized by the overwhelming nature of things?  I remember hearing statistics the first time, the shock and horror that I felt.  Now hearing the number of orphans in the world, doesn’t get to me the way that it once did.  Sure, I feel the burden — the desire to be a part of the solution.  But it is different.

So, getting back to the actual subject — giving Biblically.  What I think is most beautiful is that Biblical giving has never really changed.  It’s the same.  God’s expectation’s of us are the same — how they play out is different, but the basis is the same.  And it’s the same for me and you.  God expects us to give sacrificially.  (Check out my post on sacrifice for more thoughts on that.)

We are so blessed.  Abundantly blessed.  Check out this for a great reminder of just how blessed we really are.

In America, we have resources at our fingertips that millions and millions of people around the world, do not have any access to.  Water for instance.  Can you imagine getting through the day, cooking, cleaning, drinking, laundry, dishes, everything — on a couple of gallons of {dirty} water?  That you spent hours hauling for miles?  We think that we have busy lives.  Imagine what you would have to give up if you had to walk a few miles each time you needed some water.  And that using that water could cause your family to become ill, even die.

Question:  When you think of giving, do you feel joy or obligation?  Does handing over that money make you happy?  Or do you give just enough to not really feel the sting?  That you don’t really need it, so it’s ok to share?  What if God asked you to dig a little deeper…to give a little bit or a lot more?  Would you feel joy then?  Is giving money harder to give than purchasing a gift for a needy person?

Think about what God has said about His expectations of your giving (my emphasis):

  • Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. ~ Deuteronomy 15:10
  • There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. ~ Proverbs 11: 24-25
  • He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. ~ Proverbs 28:27
  • And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” ~ Mark 12:41-44
  • And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” ~ Luke 3:11
  • In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” ~ Acts 20:35
  • Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
  • If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? ~ James 2:15-16

Reading God’s Word about giving is refreshing and convicting.  This is truth, no matter our outward circumstances.  We are to meet the needs of others.  Even in our own poverty.  We should give until it hurts (Francis Chan).

I will leave you with these quotes about giving…they are pretty powerful.

“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” ~ Richard Braunstein

“Remember this—you can’t serve God and Money, but you can serve God with money.” ~ Selwyn Hughes

“As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure. It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor. It can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values. Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” ~ A.W. Tozer

Give this Christmas and throughout the year.  I challenge you to follow Francis Chan’s words about Biblical giving and give until it hurts.

It’s About Giving

I am now a blogger for Compassion International!!  This is my first assignment from them…  The #itsaboutgiving party just kicked off and we are going to be focused on giving! Yay!

First of all, Compassion has set a goal of $20,000 to reach by Christmas to help children living in poverty.  To do your part, visit Compassion and check our their catalog.

I give because I love Jesus.  And He has called me to give.  For me, being authentic and really following Christ, means giving.  Always, with my whole life.  It cannot be an after thought or something that I do because it gives me warm fuzzies.  It’s been written on my heart, to love and to serve and to give to others.

I have always been inclined to give at Christmas, but it’s become so much more this year. And this year I am poorer than I have ever been.  Which makes giving a bit more creative, there’s more thought and more intention behind each act of giving.  It also means getting over my pride and accepting blessings from others.  Being the recipient of a gift is much harder for me than giving a gift, but I am blessed to have a God who loves me enough to meet my every need.

Because my non-existent finances (I survive on $175 a month and I have a ten year old daughter) for most of the last year, I can’t just write a check.  Therefore, I have been forced to really look at what giving is, what God expects of me.  While I do give financially, that gift is very small.  But…I do have lots of stuff and I have found that instead of bring me joy, it just stresses me out.  So, I have very intentionally went through my closets and cupboards to find nice, good quality items to bless others with.  It’s a way to give, with intention and love.  I want to bless people, to show them the love of Christ.

My daughter and I also are doing Random Acts of Kindness to celebrate Advent this year.  Every day we do something to show others love.  It might be giving time to serve the homeless, it might be taping quarters to candy machines, it might be picking up litter, or raising money to buy stamps for an at-risk youth ministry.  But it’s all about giving and loving others.

The phrase “#ItsAboutGiving” to me really is talking about life.  Life is about giving.  It’s not just a Christmas thing, God expects us to give all the time.  Our culture tends to focus on giving at Christmas, which is awesome.  But I think we need to do a better job the other eleven months of year.  We don’t get off the hook for the rest of the year.  I have learned that being a Christian is consistently giving of ourselves, it’s always been focused on loving others.

Why do you give?  How do you give?  Is giving significant?  I want to hear your thoughts.  God bless.