“If you try to be kind and good, you will be blessed with life and goodness and honor.” Proverbs 21:21 (The Poverty and Justice Bible)
My father-in-law believed it was important to tithe, that is to give a tenth of his income to the church, but that wasn’t all he gave. He could not let a collection plate go by without putting something in it. After retirement, with a more limited income, that something was a dollar.
After his dad died, my husband Dave continued putting his father’s dollar in the collection plate for him. It is his way of honoring his father’s faithfulness, but he puts it in an envelope each Sunday so people won’t think that is all we give.
Do they know how much else we give? No. Do they need to know how much else we give? No. But in this day of online donations and, for those over 70, IRA distributions that reduce senior’s taxable income, we think it is important to silently demonstrate the importance of consistent giving.
Dave’s parents set a great example for he and his sister of how consistently giving of yourself – your time, your efforts and your hospitality, as well as your dollars – creates a hospitable home where everyone knows they are always welcome and help is available when needed.
I could feel the love in that home when I first started dating Dave and felt myself thriving in that atmosphere. And I wasn’t alone. For 23 years his parents chaperoned and nurtured the junior high students in their church, feeding them, taking them places, and teaching them by example the importance of sharing resources and consistently being kind and good to all they encountered.
For years after Dave’s parents died we received letters, phone calls and other tributes from those former junior high students sharing stories of the mentoring they received from his mom and dad. We will never know the full magnitude of their impact on all those young people, but we know they made a significant difference in their lives by consistently setting a good example of being kind and good to everyone they encountered.
No two of us are unlike. Your lives differ from our lives just as ours differed from Dave’s parents, but we can all learn from each other. And for all of us, the start of a new year is an ideal time to ask ourselves how we can be a little kinder and more giving in all we say and do and donate.
Blessings on your efforts to live and give consistently,