I’ve had more conversations in the past few days about the importance of giving than I can ever remember. The need to donate more to the local women’s and children’s shelter … a discussion with parents of my child’s playmate about my post-retirement plans to use my time to mentor disadvantaged youth in the rural area where our vacation home is … a discussion with a client on ways I can help with the efforts to support the completion of the Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum at Travis Air Force Base. All around us, there are so many opportunities to use our time and talents to be more charitable.
The volume of these conversations reached a crescendo during my Sunday church service yesterday, when I heard my pastor share the fact that the message of charity is the most frequently mentioned topic in the Bible. Over and over again, both Old and New Testament verses repeatedly drill home the instruction to “care for the needy,” “show hospitality to strangers,” “be generous to the poor,” and “give, and it will be given to you.” In fact, there are more than 2,000 different mentions of the need to put others first. I get the impression it is a pretty important matter to the big guy.
In this time of economic belt-tightening, charities, like individuals, must learn to do more with less. They look for ways to optimize their resources and lean into new methods of working to meet the needs of the issues and people they serve. Look hard at ways in which you can give, non-monetarily, to help support those in need. Your skills and talents have significant market value and donating them to those who need them can be a tremendous blessing.
Everyone rushes out during the holidays to give and be charitable. But this year, strive to make being charitable an ongoing part of who you are, not just a seasonal event. Find ways to give back of your time and talents. Follow your passion and give in areas that will enrich your field of devotion and enthusiasm. Love to read and write? Volunteer at a local library to teach creative writing. Passionate about your garden? Get involved in an urban renewal project and help replant a local park or community eyesore. Have a penchant for finances? Help the community Boys and Girls Club get their books in order. There are so many places to give back and be charitable.
Emerson said it best:
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson