July 15, 2021
We are born takers. Think of all of the different ways we take from day one. We take from our mothers in utero. Nutrients, oxygen, blood: we take in order to survive! Then, we grow bigger and older. We take things from our siblings. Out of curiosity? Maybe, when we’re little. Greed? Most definitely. It happens ALL THE TIME.
And then, we grow and take some more.
As teenagers, we take and store and sometimes use information. We take tests, we SOMETIMES take friends from other people, and we need a LOT of attention. Adults take turns. We take the right of way, we take our time, and we take one another for granted. We TAKE every day! And yes, there are many GOOD and legitimate reasons to take (learning how to receive, especially love, is SO vital to having healthy and lasting relationships). But, there is a very ingrained, original, organic desire within us to put ourselves first. Why? Because Adam and Eve took and ate fruit they were told not to have.
And THIS is why giving is so hard.
And why we must be taught and learn how to do it.
It’s always been difficult for me to know how and when and how much to give. As a child, giving looked like putting a dollar into the offering plate. I got older. I learned that giving can mean the gift of giving time. As a young adult, I gave a LOT of it. But, I don’t regret it. Not ever. “Time” is when I found my forever friends and even my husband. I took the time to meet him, and we took the time to commit to each other. We still do.
In my young adulthood, I also learned how to lead when someone gave me the time to do so. Working a job taught me the monetary value of using time for productivity. I discovered that working for a period of time can mean earning an income.
When Caleb and I took Financial Peace University as a married couple, I learned how exciting and how life-giving GIVING can really be. The more we give (and the more we HAVE to give, if we budget wisely), the more we WANT to give. It’s SO fun to do so and to do it well!
But, it’s hard work. It’s STILL an emotional challenge.
I tell Caleb even now when we’re budgeting our monthly income, “Even after all of these years it’s STILL hard to write a tithe check FIRST before anything else.” It’s not that we don’t know WHY we give. We want to. Giving is a part of our responsibility as members of the body of Christ. Money given to your church provides salaries, grounds and building upkeep, and much-needed funds to send beloved missionaries overseas to tell people about Jesus. It’s also a social responsibility, as Jesus has called us to love others as ourselves: to take care of the poor and needy. Why? Because, they will always be with us (Matthew 26:11).
Sounds easy, right? Nope.
As I’ve said, GIVING is not a natural thing for us to do. Working hard takes so much energy. It’s difficult to see a fraction of it go away when we choose to give to someone or something else.
“Then why do it?”
Well, let’s put faces to the reason (and I PROMISE you…that the more you give, the more you’ll crave it).
We are a wealthy nation. Not everybody individually can say this, but as a nation we ARE. Overall. But, those of us who live comfortably can’t always see the ones that do not.
Sometimes, we don’t see those who barely live at all.
One of my very favorite charities is the Salvation Army. The history, though sometimes romanticized, stems from a place in the world where my family is from: England. The stories are tremendous and the testimonies life-changing. Our own Salvation Army ministry here in Fergus Falls could write a book, I’m certain. PEOPLE is why they exist, and it’s one of the top-rated charities when it comes to doing what it promises with the money it receives. I’ve met some of the workers here in our town. The captains are gems. THEY bring tears to my eyes with the hearts they have for some of the people in our town who remain unseen and unheard. They GIVE so much because the Lord our God has given so much to and for us. This is the story they want to tell.
My love for the Salvation Army stems from my time at Morning Son Christian School (now Hillcrest – Lower School Campus) and from my interaction with the lovely Joyce Aamot who prioritizes reaching out. Years ago, she led one of her 3rd grade classes in a mission to provide weekly Friday lunches for students served by the Salvation Army in the after-school program. In 2017-2018, I was that particular class’s 6th grade teacher.
Joyce’s passion and love for not only the Salvation Army but for these students was and still IS evident. That year, we continued the mission and provided weekly lunches. Inspired by Joyce’s passion and love for this ministry developed my OWN passion and love for it as well. It still brings tears to my eyes every time I think about those children and families in desperate need. There are, in fact, TOO many of them for the Salvation Army to serve.
Too many in our little town. That’s one TOO MANY for us to ignore.
I was so proud of my students that year. They not only assisted the other MSCS students in packing lunches every week, but they ran a Thanksgiving tote drive for the families of those who receive those lunches. They provided totes with all the Thanksgiving fixings, and they were SO excited about it! Their excitement was so contagious that it led their parents and local businesses like Fall Baking Company and the Service Food grocery store to participate. What a gift those totes were to those families! Those totes, along with blankets and socks, provided a few children in our town some much-needed support and care.
Today, on this Social Media Day of Giving, consider walking into your local Salvation Army and doing something that doesn’t come natural to any of us. Bring food or toys or clothes or cash. Bring Bibles. Give time.
And give like no one else.
To give to my favorite charity, click here!
*To learn more about how to “live like no one else so later you can live and GIVE like no one else,” read here!