I hope you all found time to sit and reflect this week, to truly embrace the undeserving gifts that God has placed in your life and the perfect love in which He gave them.
I love Thanksgiving, but I think all too often it is robbed of some of its significance. Before people can even finish their pumpkin pie, they are discussing their early morning assault on Target, their Christmas plans, or how they are dreading work on Monday. We sit, we give thanks, but all too often we don’t respond any further.
One of the Thanksgiving sermons I heard this year discussed responding by giving. The pastor talked about how much to put in the offering plate on Thanksgiving Day and how to search your heart to determine the appropriate amount. It wasn’t that I disagreed with him, but I was left wondering what to do after Thanksgiving. Is that all there is to it — to come, give thanks, give money and go on?
There are so many more resources God has given us beyond money. Think of what you have to give besides your income: time, smiles, helping hand, extra clothes, and various other gifts and abilities specific to you.
My challenge to you (and myself) is to respond to Thanksgiving this year with a true giving spirit. Take some time to pray and research where you might be able to give of yourself this holiday season. It doesn’t have to mean taking on a large task; it can be as simple as cleaning out your closet and bringing some of the things you don’t need to the nearest shelter. The main point of this challenge is to move us all into action, to turn giving into doing.
Here are some examples I came up with:
- Ring bells for a few hours for the Salvation Army.
- Help serve a meal at the nearest food pantry.
- Instead of a gift exchange with friends, have everyone bring things they don’t need, and then deliver them to the nearest shelter.
- Call a nursing home or assisted living, and see if you and some friends can stop by and bless the residents with Christmas carols.
- Ask your boss if you can hold a canned food drive at work.
The list could go on, and I’m sure you can think of some creative ideas as well. Let us all respond with thankfulness in action for the many gifts God has given us. I’m excited to hear what you are going to do, and I will let you know as soon as I choose my action as well.
I know our lives are meant to live in service, and I’m not saying this one action is enough, but I am challenging everyone to move beyond their norm this year and take one extra step in giving. Let this be a place for conversation, ideas and encouragement as we respond with humble hearts for all that He has done.
Copyright 2011 Chelsey Nugteren. All rights reserved.