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The Giving Spirit

First of all I appreciate my home group so much for everything they are doing to serve other people. We sponsored a family through one of the local ministries and divided up gift giving responsibilities. Everyone in our group was very happy to do this and did a great job buying gifts. I pray the family who receives our gifts is truly blessed. Now a couple of thoughts from me concerning this type of service and then an amazing story of the giving spirit.

The family sponsoring thing can be a good and bad thing in my opinion. I’ll say the good first…

The good thing is that the family sponsor process is so simple. You get a list of families and pick one to sponsor. All you know about them is their first names and their clothes sizes (necessity gifts) and maybe a note of a luxury gift they might want. You buy them gifts, deliver to the ministry, and the ministry delivers to the family. It’s a great way to serve a family in need and it’s extremely simple.

The bad thing is also that the process is so simple. You never get the opportunity to meet the family or form a relationship on any level. You’re only able to influence their lives with material things. Sure, when they know the gifts came from a church group they might think about God, but that material gift can’t demonstrate any other aspects of God’s love for us or all the reasons he has given us to trust him. All we have to lose is some paper with numbers on it (money) and maybe a little bit of time at the store. We don’t have to risk our emotions building a relationship with them. We don’t have to practice what we preach about forgiving people for their sins and loving them despite their faults. Buying gifts and dropping them off doesn’t require the considerable amount of time investment that it would take to build relationships with people who need you for Christ-like influence and unconditional love.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m so glad we participated in that ministry and I don’t want to discount it for anyone who doesn’t have other opportunities to serve. But our home group has been called to serve on a much more influential level. We’re building a relationship with a special needs couple and learning of ways to serve them with more than just money and stuff. We’re giving our time, overlooking their faults, and showing them God’s unconditional love. They’ve come to our church now and love it. And our God is mighty enough to do many miracles we can’t imagine in this couples lives. Not everyone in our group has had an opportunity to get involved with this couple yet, but that’s ok because it’s a process. What we’re doing in my opinion is one of the best examples of selfless giving I’ve ever been so close to, and I’m so honored to be part of the group that’s doing it.

Now back to the amazing story about the giving spirit. So we sponsored a family to buy gifts for and divided up who would buy what. One of our homegroup families chose to buy for one of the kids from the needy family. The kids in this homegroup family felt like they needed to do their part in giving to the less fortunate kid. They pitched in from their allowance but that wasn’t enough. They knew they were going to be at family Thanksgiving dinners on both sides of their family, so they decided to take up collections from both sides of the family at each dinner. When they were finished they had enough money to buy the gifts they really wanted to. That is the coolest thing ever. They felt a need (calling) to do their part, they knew they didn’t have what it took to do it on their own (had to trust God), they took the only action they knew to take (took advantage of an opportunity right in front of them), and the rest is the joy of giving a gift. When you least expect it kids will do the purest demonstrations of lessons we adults thought we really understood.

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