I thought for years that the only way to give was with money. My mindset was that people who are in need, for the most part, need money for things like rent, utilities, clothing, food for the family, etc., and unless I could give a money offering, I wasn’t really giving.
I’ve always wanted to be a regular monetary giver. I’m happy that hubby and I regularly give to Feed The Children. That organization has always been on our hearts because we both have had our share of dealing with famine. So that’s a start for us. We hope our income will go up to be able to support other needs with money.
But giving back doesn’t stop at money. There are other things I do that I didn’t think of as giving like: working in a ministry, encouraging others, praying for people or giving of my talent or time. I just thought those are things you do because you love God. And while that’s true but it’s giving as well.
In past, when I’ve discussed my desire to give money regularly to someone, they’d tell me, “but you give in so many other ways.” How do I give if I’m not giving money? I thought. How does what I do help anyone?
There’s all kinds of ways to help people in need. Here’s a short list I’ve compiled that we probably do all the time without even thinking:
- Giving our time. We all need to vent to someone that we feel safe with. So allowing a friend, relative or even a stranger to share their innermost feelings with you, their problems is a wonderful way to give back. You never know how close to the edge a person might be. Talking helps them to relieve their stress by getting it out and it blesses you to be there for them.
- Other ways to give our time – maybe you help a friend pack and/or move, you pray with a person or give a hug to someone hurting. All these things are giving. Anytime, you take the time from your busy day to be there for someone else, whatever they need, is giving. You don’t have to buy a present, sometimes it’s just being there that gives them hope. There’s no price tag on these intangibles.
- Giving our talents. You don’t have to be an artist or a creative person to use your God-given gifts. Perhaps you’re really good at organizing. You can help someone organize their paperwork or a room. Maybe you’re great at writing business letters or perhaps you understand how to post on social media. These skills can be very useful to someone. And, we don’t have to use our gifts only in church. There’s a whole outside world that needs help.
- Mentoring. This does take time and effort and you’ll need to know your limitations/boundaries beforehand. However, if you have a burden to help young people or children, mentoring could be a great gift giving option. The information, time you spend mentoring a child or young person can do wonders for them as they grow up. It can shape the person they will become and can show them a possible future they never thought was possible. There’s plenty of non-profit organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America that specialize in giving back to the next generations or perhaps your own church has a youth program that you can volunteer for.
- Charitable work. Volunteering for charity is another great way to give back if you have a lot of time to devote everyday or if you don’t. Many of the organizations in my town hold fundraising events and look for volunteers for just that event. So, even if you’re able to go and help serve meals or perhaps work behind the scenes to help set up a room are all ways to give your time and effort.
- Bible study. Most churches have small groups that are led by specific leaders within in the congregation and this is a great initiative where you would have chances to help others who are perhaps new to Christianity to learn more about God and His Word.
- Visitation. This has become more difficult with our current new normal, but if you’re able to visit a neighbor or friend in person, do that and do it safely. If not, there’s Zoom, Google hangouts, Whatsapp or even Skype to do a video call. It’s wonderful to connect in person to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Bottom line, whichever way you give back, can really help encourage and inspire others just by doing the things you normally do that you and I take for granted.
Also, don’t dismiss the impact when someone says how much they appreciate what you do. We, all too often, brush it off with something like: “well, it’s The Lord...” and yes it is The Lord that equips us to help others, but I think it’s important that we understand that how we give back is important to that person even if we don’t think so.
Back to the monetary giving…if you can’t give large money offerings, in other words, if $5 is all you have to give – that is giving. As long as you do it from your heart is all that matters.
Studying further about giving has changed my thinking. God loves a cheerful giver. If you read the Book of Acts, the 2nd chapter, you’ll see that they gave daily and added to the church. What would our world be like if we did that?
If we will give our talents, time, prayers, support, help and encouragement freely and genuinely, God will be pleased. And keep this is in mind… the benefits of what we get back far outweigh what we give out.