Give the Gift of Time This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us. Many people look at the holidays, and think of giving gifts and receiving gifts. But when we have come to know Christ and what this time of year means to us as Believers—we look at it very differently.

This month's theme for WHOLE Magazine, is "The Season of Receiving & Releasing." We've all heard the phrase, "be a blessing to others, and you will be blessed." For me, that's what it feels like when I give to others, may it be my prayers, time, talent, or money.

I know that in giving to the less fortunate, I receive joy and blessings, as well. I don't just want to pray for you and ask that God provide you with a coat during the cold winter nights. I realize that God has chosen me, not only because I had five extra coats in my attic, but because I am looking to receive nothing, but the joy of giving to others.

It's time for us as Believers to stop justifying why we aren't doing more for those in need. Helping out our less fortunate brothers and sisters has less to do with them and is more about us.

The Bible clearly shows us God's heart for the poor and OUR responsibility to them, as His children.

  • "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God." - Lev. 19:9-11
  • 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. - Deu. 15:11
  • Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. - Psa. 82:3-4
  • He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. - Prov. 14:31
  • He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. - Prov. 19:17
  • If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. - Prov. 13:21
  • The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.- Prov. 29:7
  • The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners... - Is. 61:1
  • Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." - Luke 14:12-14

So, how can you help, you ask. There are great websites out there now, that function like an employment site to help you find something that fits you.

Before beginning, I advise you to seek the Lord's counsel. Pray, and ask Him to give you guidance and direct you to where you would be most needed. Most of the time we will find some of the most in need and poor in spirit are our very own neighbors—even family.

Here I have gathered some ideas to help you in deciding where you would like to give your time to. Some of these I have researched, while others I volunteer in myself.

1. Soup Kitchen/ Salvation Army
2. Homeless Shelter
3. Nursing Home (remember many of the elderly have no family, or visitors during the holidays)
4. Battered Women's Shelter
5. Your church or local church serving hot meals.

Don't have time, but extra money to give?

1. Donate coats and winter clothing. - There are enough toy drives around, but making sure children are warm during these cold days matters much more. 
2. Adopt a homeless family and invite them for dinner this holiday, or offer to purchase groceries.
3. Tithe extra at your local church or refuge ministry.

Remember that when we give to others, we are in deed receiving, because we reap what we sow. And in all things, never, ever forget to give God glory. This is not about us, instead we are just vessels He uses to do His work here on earth.                                                        

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About the Author :

Carmen Miller is founder of Whole Magazine and an unashamed lover of Jesus Christ, wife, and mother. Daily, she clings to God's goodness to cover her mess and purpose her days to live out her passion in leading broken women to Christ. She has a love affair with coffee, cowgirl boots, and her iPhone.

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