Today, I was looking for a verse for a custom project someone requested. While browsing some keywords, I stumbled across this Scripture - unrelated to the project - but it struck a chord with me nonetheless.
"Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land."
I have been seeing the Pay-It Forward and Random Acts of Kindness initiatives all over lately. They're amazing - really, truly are - but shouldn't giving and kindness be a part of our everyday life? Shouldn't we be teaching our children to look beyond their own little bubbles and reach out to those around them? How many times do we pass the food bank collection box, say "no" to a charity, or think "I can't afford to...."
We all have time (precious as it may be.) We have strengths, gifts, and talents. We have money - you can always eke out something. Yes, it's easy - especially this time of year to either A) support a cause because it's expected.... or B) ignore extraneous giving because things are tight. I want to encourage you to make giving and kindness a part of your lifestyle though - to remember that no matter how bad you think you have it, there is someone out there who is suffering worse.
See pantry basics at a fantastic price? Pick up a few extra and toss them in the food drive box even when it's not a major holiday. Have extra toys lying around (we always get a duplicate of something) from a birthday? Pass it along to a toy drive, hospital, or family in need. Use some reward miles to redeem for a gift card that can be used by a family in your church. Buy a coffee for the person who looks extremely stressed out in the line behind you at Tim Hortons. Call up a nursing home and see if they have visiting hours. Donate books to your local school or library. Spend an hour cleaning kennels at your local humane society. Find out if your local NICU accepts knit hats and blankets. Donate socks and soap to a homeless shelter. One of our favourites: pick a name off a holiday tree (usually in a local store.) Everyone chooses a gift for the selected name.
Elderly neighbour house bound? Go for a visit and bring some home baked goodies. Young mom feeling overwhelmed? Offer to babysit so she can go to the salon or get some groceries. Friend who doesn't have a license? Make a date to hit the mall so they can get some holiday shopping done.
Think outside the box when it comes to helping others in your family, your circle of acquaintances, your community. Giving doesn't have to be big to be generous - it just has to be heartfelt and done happily. Giving can be time. Giving can be action. Giving can be financial. Remember... it's more blessed to give than to receive. Make it an everyday thing!