Giving Out

December 10, 2009

in the generous life

A couple of trains of thought crashing into each other …

My husband and I have talked off and on about Christmas gifts, the push to spend, and the endless pricey gifts that are expected but often end up not wanted or appreciated.  That said, we love to give gifts (we’re not being Scrooge).  We just want them to be meaningful and thoughtful.  We also want to give gifts that are more personal and heartfelt, rather than just buying to buy.  We are moving more to gifts that can be used up (tickets to an event, paying for a class, etc.) and we’re not afraid to give plates of decorated cookies or homemade bread (small and yummy is good).

We are also more aware of the needs around us, both US and abroad (we have a lot of missionary friends).  It burns us to see people we know struggle just to pay the bills and eat (and that sometimes not too well).  Ministries are struggling left and right with low giving since 9/11.

OK, this is the crash.

I’d like to offer the suggestion that you and your husband do some praying about how and where you give and how that might play out in your attitudes about gifts and gift giving.  My husband and I periodically pray about where and how we give and we try to be aware of the needs of our friends and neighbors (I have to say that “stealth giving” is a real kick).  Beyond that you might talk about holiday spending and where money might be better spent.  Does anyone really need another dust collector or might you donate to a ministry in their name?  And please, don’t forget to give to those who serve your local body of Christ (if nothing else, send a card with a heartfelt thanks for all they do).

Giving together is an intimacy builder and it’s great for kids too (give them age appropriate choices as they learn the joy of giving).

Here are a couple of neat ministries (please add your favorites by making a comment) and, as always, do check ministries out before giving to them.

AdventConspiracy.org
WithThisRing.org (I personally know WTR and the organization is legit, you go Ali!)

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Be generous!  Lori <><

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

fiddlejill December 10, 2009 at 8:38 am

I just did a post similar to this…the premise being that this is Jesus’ birthday so why not give Him a gift. Matt 25:40 says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers, you do for me.”

I am an advocate for Compassion International. They ministry gets the highest rankings from Charity Navigator. I am buying mosquito nets for my friends and family – for $10 you can purchage a mosquito net and help stop the spread of malaria.

I also have several friends who are sponsoring children this year – definitely a gift that keeps on giving.

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celticsiren December 10, 2009 at 8:54 am

Our family recently had a discussion about giving to our local food bank instead of giving gifts amongst the siblings and cousins. We all don’t have tons of money to spend, so instead of struggling to find a meaningful gift under $20 we considered making a larger donation to a foodbank in honour of our families and friend. I’m not sure what every one else will decide, but my husband and I chose to go that route. With the economy the way it is, I think it’s better “stimulation” than spending the money on novelty items at our local super store.

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leiacellaa23 December 10, 2009 at 11:07 am

My current favorite is Heifer, International (www.heifer.org). Like with World Vision, you donate money to purchase some type of livestock for a family somewhere in the world. That family is given a female animal and some training on how to use and care for their animal. The animal and all future offspring are then the property of the family except for the first female offspring. The first female offspring is given (with training) to another family in their community (who promises to give away _their_ first female offspring, and so on). So by giving $250 for a water buffalo, for instance (everybody’s got one!), you’d not only be changing the lives of one family, but you could eventually be changing the lives of an entire community! And not by “giving them a fish,” but rather by providing the means for them to become self-sufficient!

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Elise December 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm

We have struggled financially this year, but just this week we were given a generous gift and found out that dh is getting an unexpected bonus. I’d been thinking of a way to help a family we know – the husband has been unemployed for 18 months. When dh told me of the bonus he said, “I think we should give some to the _______’s.” He’d been reading my mind. We decided to do it anonymously, so your mention of “stealth giving” really struck me today. I like the sound of that. Thanks for sharing.

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The Generous Wife December 18, 2009 at 11:06 am

Just forwarding a suggestion from Jo ~
Dining For Women is my very favorite good cause, although it is not called a ministry. The founder is a good friend of mine who has dedicated her life to helping women and children (and therefore men, families and communities) in extreme poverty around the world. Please consider http://www.diningforwomen.org.

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