Saturday, October 18, 2008

Looking under bridges - more thoughts on giving

Last night my youngest son and I had a discussion of God, Gnosticism, blessings, "paying it forward", and several other things. My son feels a real need to give more to others but for some reason just hasn't done it. I can definitely relate to that. My man person and I have been blessed and we need to share more generously. We talked about how one can give generously when money is limited and he had some excellent ideas. He also reminded me that one needn't give to a large organization (or any organization at all) and suggested finding local individuals or families that need help and reaching out to them. When I asked him how to find people who need help he quickly said, "Look under bridges." and I immediately knew he was referring to the lyrics of Under Bridges by Christian band Brave Saint Saturn. Since looking under bridges can be risky he also suggested speaking to the pastors of local churches. Surely they know which members of their flock can use some help.

James 1:26-27 reads

"If anyone among you thinks himself to be religious, while he doesn’t bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."

Scripture makes it very clear that we're to help the fatherless and the widows. I believe their affliction is that they have no man to provide for and protect them and are therefore often among the most economically disadvantaged and endangered members of society. Visiting them in their affliction then is tending to their basic needs of food, clothing, and housing. In other words, we're to protect them.

So a person who wants to help others might go to the local churches and talk to the pastors about the fatherless and widows in the congregation. Spending a little time with the fatherless, perhaps taking them a few groceries, making sure their basic needs are met and even doing something fun with them would qualify as visiting them in their affliction. A widow might need groceries, a ride to the doctor's office, help paying her electric bill, the kitchen sink unstopped, etc. If you can do more, that's great but even a little help is still help.

And no, I don't think we should help only the fatherless and the widows but I do think there's a biblical mandate to do so. I don't know about you but I'm very guilty of not doing that and I want to amend that.

There's so much we can do and if we all do just a little, we won't need the horrific welfare system we have. Giving should be a private enterprise, not a public one but no one should be forced to give. We should, however, be encouraged to give so I encourage, no I challenge, you now to find a way to give in your community.

I do think there are many people who want to give of their time, talent, and money but aren't sure just how. Here are some sites that might give a little assistance in that.

Be The Cause

Charity Guide

Do Something

Volunteer Match

Don't forget the idea of doing what you can locally. I'm all for giving to areas far beyond where we are geographically but if we all do what we can in our own neighborhoods, what a blessing that is. So now, go and find someone who can use a little help and give them that help.

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