Wealth and generosity are words we associate with our financial status, but I have come believe they can have a much broader meaning. We can be “wealthy” or “generous” in different ways depending on the physical and emotional resources available to us. “Wealth” could mean an abundance of money, or time, or patience, etc. Sometimes people don’t need monetary generosity, but they crave a generous listener to hear their heart. As you decide how you are going to practice generosity this month, consider some ideas:
Bless someone in need financially. Do you know someone who is having trouble paying their bills? (Ask at your church office, they usually have a list!) Do you know a teen or young adult at church who is trying to raise money for camp or a mission trip and whose family cannot support them financially? Maybe there is a family or couple you know who is raising money to do mission work in another country (once again, you can check with your church office). Another great way to share your financial resources is to sponsor a child. You can do this through a children’s home or in another country through an organization such as Compassion International. We chose to sponsor a child this year and it has been one of the best choices we’ve made! Chances are, we can all think of someone in our life that could use a financial boost of some sort. Consider giving anonymously, if possible. I don’t think this is necessary, but it guards your heart from pride and muddled motives.
Put your extra time to good use. (Your recorded shows will still be there when you get back!) There are always people looking for a friend, mentor, or free babysitter! Organizations are always looking for volunteers. I once knew a young married woman who volunteered every day at the Salvation Army near her home. She did not have a job, and they only had one car. She walked there every day. There are also great opportunities such as Friendspeak, groups that help immigrants transition, food banks, homeless shelters, animal shelters, etc.
Another way to give your time is to mentor someone younger than you. We all need role models and caring mentors in our lives. Invest you time generously into a teen in the youth group. Many kids come from single parent homes and need a mother or father figure. You can go to their games, take them out for dinner, etc. I am sure the youth minister at your church would be thrilled to talk to you about mentoring a teen! If not a teen, mentor a young adult. Young adults have it hard (I am one, I know!). They are trying to figure out what to do with their lives and are navigating big decisions: career, marriage, etc. Young parents also need mentors. Speaking as a young adult with her first child one the way, I am hoping to find an encouraging mentor for this next stage in my life! Any takers? 😉
Stretch your grocery budget. Even though our budget is tight, this is one of my favorite ways to share generously with others in need. Every month there is at least one case of a family in need, or with a new baby, or struggling with sickness that could use a good home-cooked meal delivered, or a couple freezer meals that they could just throw in the crockpot when needed. I am hoping to get together with a friend and make up some freezer meals for ourselves and to share!
Give away clothes. We have an excess amount of clothes. I don’t shop often, yet I have a closet and dresser full of clothes. Many of which I rarely wear. You can donate to a thrift store, charity, or give directly to someone you know. You don’t have to make someone feel like it is a hand-out. Maybe your son has outgrown some clothes and you can give them to a family you know with a younger boy. It would save them gobs of money! My family was not too poor to buy clothes, but I still received nice hand-me-downs from my older cousin and from girls at church. Getting those bags of clothes made it feel like Christmas morning. I still own and wear some of those hand-me-downs!
Organize fundraising events. This takes a generosity of your time and talents. If you have the gift of organization, you could be a real blessing to a group in need! There is a mom at our church who is passionate about a children’s home nearby. She takes her children up there to serve, and has gone above and beyond the scope of most volunteers. While serving there she was struck by how little meat they had and the lack of kitchen supplies the house parents had to work with on a daily basis. She used her gift as a photographer to run a fundraiser “Photos for Food” where she took family photographs for $20. They raised money to feed the children’s home breakfast for a whole year! She also gave up her house and yard to host a church garage sale and fundraiser. With the money from the garage sale and meat offered at a low price from a local butcher, she was able to stock the children’s home freezers with meat. Both her and her daughter have worked tirelessly with our church to run craft and art supply donations and most recently to host a shower and Pampered Chef party to give the house parents new kitchen supplies. This woman, her daughter, and her daughter’s friend are already brainstorming how they can refinish the kitchen cabinets and begin setting up sponsors for the children. Though she works full-time and is a busy mom, she continues to be an example of generosity motivated by the love of Christ!
Listen with genuine interest and compassion. Listen generously to a hurting soul. I can guarantee they are out there! Oh, what I would give some days for someone to hear my heart! What about you?
Help tutor someone. There are many kids, teens, and even adults who would jump at the chance for free tutoring, help writing and editing a paper, or assistance studying for the ACT and SAT! If you have the ability to help out in this area, it will take generosity of time and patience, but I promise it will make a difference! My uncle is currently giving of his time (and patience) to help a high school dropout study and prepare for his GED test. He is helping because he wants to see this young man succeed and meet his goals.
We can all offer something. Even if we are poor, hurting, busy, and tired. God has a beautiful way of filling our hearts with more love and grace when we live generously.
I have participated in many of these areas in the past, but our current goal as a family is to focus on two of these: 1) Listening compassionately to others 2) Providing meals to families in our church who are sick or struggling.
Today, I focused on what we, as adults, can do to live generously. Tomorrow I will share some ideas for the whole family to do together!
What do you plan to do to practice generosity this month? Did you have any ideas that I did not share above?
P.S. I am linking up to Missional Women, Graced Simplicity, ChristianMommyBlogger, and the Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop today! So feel free to hop on over there and read other encouraging posts for a faith-filled Friday!