In Israel today, approximately 40% of all children (Jewish and Arab) are at risk due to poverty. At C4i, we fight to provide food for the hungry, protect children at risk, and assist new immigrants who are struggling to find their place in the Holy Land with contributions from donors. Ordinary men and women of conscience who are willing to entrust us with their hard-earned money for the good of complete strangers. We thank God for each one of our donors and appreciate every cent that is gifted to our cause.
As important as financial generosity is, giving means more than that. The Christian spirit isn’t confined to dollars and cents. What about those who can’t afford to give, who might be struggling to provide for themselves and their own family? Are they locked out of a fundamental aspect of Christianity because of their financial situation? Absolutely not. There are still many ways we can all give, regardless of our finances.
We are more than our bank statements
Generosity is not limited to strict numbers. I’ve had lean years in my life and one story from the Bible has always granted me comfort – the widow’s mite from the Book of Mark.
"He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, 'Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
Giving isn’t about math and sums, it’s about sacrifice and intention. The widow in that familiar story gave only a little, but she dug deep to do it. Her two little coins were more valuable to God than an entire purse from a wealthy man because she actually had to give something up to give them. The obvious take away from this story is that every gift counts. Even if you can only give a little, if it is given from a place of love and sacrifice God can use it as if it were a fortune.
The other take away is that we are more than our bank statements. Jesus was impressed with what was in that woman’s heart, she gave from one of the few resources she had left because that is what she could do. Think about the resources you have that are not necessarily money. Do you have any helpful talents or skills? Are you able bodied and able to help others? Do you have a vehicle, a kitchen, knowledge, or anything else that might be used to help someone? Then no matter what your bank says you have something valuable to share in the spirit of the Lord.
Other ways to give
You have so many more gifts to share. Think about these options when you’re unsure of what you have to contribute to others.
Old and less frequently used goods and items. We all have things we’ve collected over the years that are just taking up space. Maybe there was a mistake on your wedding registration a few years back and somehow you ended up with two different blenders. Or you have old clothes and shoes kicking around the closet no one has worn in ages. Maybe you have older model electronics like a tablet or a game system you no longer use, or power tools you’ve upgraded from. All of these things can be richly enjoyed and appreciated by others! You can either give them directly to a family you know that could use an extra hand or drop them off with a charity and rest assured that they will use them to provide a positive impact that helps another family. Those old shoes and that last generation tablet might not mean much to you, but for someone hobbling around on a pair of shoes with a hole in them or who can’t connect to the internet because they don’t have a device, they will mean everything!
Donate your time to the local church. The church is always going to be a focus point of generosity and a place in need of time and bodies. Giving financially to your church is always a good thing, but it can be even more impactful to give your time. Churches have a dizzying array of needs, from simple grounds keeping and cleaning, to volunteer roles in groups, to kitchen and prep help, local ministry, and the list goes on. Ask where you can help, and the church will gladly accept!
Donate your love. You never know how much a simple note or phone call can mean until you really need to hear a friendly voice. Even if you don’t have any other resources, you can always give your love and prayers. A small handwritten note telling someone how much they are appreciated, a phone call asking how they are doing, inviting someone over for a chat - none of these cost anything but each of them can make a real difference in someone’s life. If you want to give but don’t have much, never forget that God gave you an infinite supply of love to share.
Giving is far more than money. With a little creativity and an honest heart, each of us has a fortune in goodness to give.