We know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is King of the Universe and nothing is impossible for him. When we are needy and are struggling to pay our electric bills, it is easy to forget that God is not worried. He has the resources to take care of every need, even if it comes as mannah “ one day at a time.
Plenty of people across the world are counting every penny right now. It is easy to look at the need around us and grieve when we do not have enough cash to help. Yet, God never asks us to give what we do not have. He does not call us to all be millionaires. He calls us ¬Å“ no matter what our wallet weight – to trust Him and put His Kingdom first. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33)
As the holiday season races down on us, here are some ways we can show Christ’s love to those around us and give of what God has already given us:
Our Own Churches
Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) We need to make sure we help care for our brothers and sisters in our own churches. Are there families in our churches worried about paying their bills? Talk to your church leaders about any mechanisms in place to help church members pay their electric or heat bills as the outside temperatures drop. Offer food baskets. Collect winter jackets or hats and mittens or Christmas gifts for families that are really struggling. Pray diligently for others. If we do not take care of each other, why would anybody out in the world want to become a part of us?
Prison Fellowship connects inmates with their children every Christmas by buying the children gifts in the name of their parents in prison. It is an act of Christ’s love to both the inmates and their children to help these parents communicate their love to their kids, even from prison. Inmates fill out Angel Tree cards, which are distributed (often through participating churches) in the area where the children live. Anybody who wants to participate can choose one or several children and buy the gifts the parent has written on their Angel Tree card. The gifts are then taken to the children’s houses.
This is a great way to help our own kids and grandkids focus on giving to other children rather than focusing on themselves. Not only can they help buy the gifts, but they can help deliver them. Giving to the kids not only blesses the children and parents, but also those who are looking after the children while one or both parents are absent. Those who bring the gifts to the children often get to meet the children and their caregivers in person.
Operation Christmas Child
Franklin Graham’s ministry Samaritan’s Purse collects and distributes thousands of gift-filled shoe boxes to children in war-torn or impoverished areas across the world every Christmas. Anybody can participate, and it is a simple and inexpensive way to show a child the love of Jesus Christ at Christmas time. It’s another way to help our own children and grandchildren get their minds off of themselves at Christmas and to give to others. Even our kids’ “small” contributions can make an impact in another child’s life.
Families or individuals wrap shoe box-sized containers in wrapping paper and fill them with inexpensive gifts, like yo-yos and crayons, stuffed animals and soap and toothbrushes. Along with the gifts, the gift givers are encouraged to include letters to the receiving children and also to pray for them. Samaritan’s Purse includes a Christian message in each shoe box, and then ships the boxes overseas to thrilled little kids from ages 2-14. Some of these children might never hear about Jesus except for these little boxes.
Shoe box collections week is November 17-24. See the Samaritan’s Purse website to find a shoe box drop-off location near you.
When your church or the Boy Scouts or local school children stop by your door on their canned food drives, find more than canned peas or creamed corn to give them. A few cans of soup or boxes of cereal, raisins and cooking oil might only cost you $10, but they will help fill food bank shelves and feed many families during difficult times. Call your church or local food bank and ask where you can donate winter jackets or bags of wood pellets. They should be able to connect you to local ministries that help people with necessities that go beyond food.
Friendship and Prayer
Even if we have no dimes to spare, we can always be good friends. We can listen ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ really listen. We can offer our shoulders and our tissues. We can share our talents and skills, whether we patch roofs or write encouraging notes or make great chicken soup.
Above all else, we can pray. Prayer is the single most important thing we can do for anybody on this planet. All the money in the world will never help a fellow human being without the hand of God, and we catch ahold of God’s highest desires for us and our loved ones when we pray diligently for them.
God does not ask us to give what we don’t have. We give what we do have; whether it is a winter coat or a much needed hug. And always, we pray for and seek first the Kingdom of God, and we rejoice in God’s faithfulness as we eat our mannah one day at a time. Thank you, Father.