This is the time of year when many of us try to share a little of our time and money with others. And there are opportunities all around us to do so. The bell ringers are standing outside most stores. Local organizations entreat us to donate coats, canned goods, gifts, and money to those less fortunate. Most of us know of someone within our circle of friends and acquaintances who has suffered some misfortune or another in this year of storms and financial crises. There are any numbers of ways to share. So it comes down to one more choice to be made during the holidays. How much to give and to whom…
We live in tough times and there are so many, many factors to consider before contributing to a specific cause. I know that many organizations spend more on administration than actual donations. Some “charities” are fraudulent. And of course some recipients are just as fraudulent. They prey on the mercies of others and are “regulars” for any and all handouts. I try to avoid the first problem by only giving locally. And I leave the second problem to God.
My first concern is always children so I pick a couple of “angels” off our local gift tree. So much fun to shop for little ones since we no longer have many within our own family. I also make a few contributions to local organizations that gather money and food for families. And I buy gifts for my students.
While all of that sounds good and makes me feel good, it hardly seems like enough “sharing” to begin to show gratitude for the blessings I have been given in recent years, and I have been thinking about my contributions, or lack thereof, during the rest of the year. Although I make regular donations to Goodwill, those are merely a convenient way to “clean closets” and such.
So, even though I don’t usually make resolutions for the New Year, I have decided that in 2013 I will set myself a giving goal. I will give one anonymous gift per month to someone in need. I don’t think it is necessary to set a dollar amount or determine what I will give. I think the Lord will lead me to the person in need and the appropriate gift. Life is all about seeking opportunities. I think I will recognize a good cause when I see one.
How about you? What will you do for others in 2013?