“Nobody gets into heaven without a letter of reference from the poor.” Reverend James Forbes
Over 2,000 verses in the Bible wake us up to issues of poverty and justice. How we respond to them is our option and our responsibility.
December, the don’t-miss-this sale, buy-it-now time in this country, is actually the perfect time to slow down and think about what you want to do for your family, as well as what you want to give away, and what you can give away to make life easier for those whose lives are more limited than your own.
If you have never done this before, you may not have much to give away this year, but it is still the perfect time to begin planning for gifts that you can give every month of the next year, gifts that will enhance the lives of the recipients and bring a smile to your face too.
Start by asking yourself, “If you could solve any problem in the world, what would it be? What would that letter of reference from the poor say you had done to make their lives easier?” Whatever it is, that’s the need for you to concentrate on. Those gifts that enhance life – the gift of education, the gift of good health, the gift of decent housing and the gift of adequate nutrition – are a great place to begin your thinking process.
After selecting a need to tackle, research organizations that address that need. Select one to support and decide how much you can give before the year is over and how much you want to give each month of the following year.
Divide the total you want to give by 12 and either make a commitment to write a check every month, or arrange for an automatic payment from your paycheck or your checking account. That’s a great example of faith in action; so is stretching yourself to give a little more than you think you can afford. Giving is easier when it becomes a habit.
The central feature of the corkboard wall in my office is a mountain climbing poster. When we were younger, my husband and daughter and son and I loved climbing the snow-covered peaks in the Cascade Mountains. The poster says, “No goal is too high if we climb with care and confidence.” Those were guiding words for us then and they are guiding words for us now as we strive to live our lives being as generous as we can.
Discovering the joy of being generous and making gifts that enhance life for the poor is a lofty and admirable goal – one we can keep redefining and follow for the rest of our lives. It is one that can guide you too, if you climb with care and confidence.
Blessings on your efforts to be generous to the poor,