25 Oct “Why I Give” by Melissa Mitchell
There are those moments in time that really stand out. Not just the big events like graduating or getting married. Sometimes they are tiny things- that when they happen, they don’t seem like a big deal, but they stay with you for years to come.
I have a few such memories that formed my attitude towards giving in my early 20’s. The first I recall was at West Kingston Baptist Church (now Harbor Church). A missionary was a guest speaker and he challenged the congregation to not think of giving in terms of “what am I going to give to God, but how much was I going to keep for myself”. Another time came in a finance class that I was taking at CCF. The teacher presented a new concept to me as a young adult – that as an American I was rich. Compared to how most of the world lived, for the most part Americans were wealthy in comparison. It was a radical thought!
These moments have helped shape me. Some Bible verses that I often think of are from Matthew 6:19-21:
“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them. Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is.”
These thoughts have influenced my giving over the years. In addition to giving to our church, my family also partners with some missionaries and we are also involved in compassionate giving – we support a child through Compassion International and recently started sponsoring a child in Haiti through a ministry Tree of Hope Haiti, that a friend of ours runs.
A more hands on activity that my daughter and I are particularly involved in is Operation Christmas Child. Each year we pack some boxes full of gifts that will be shipped to children in need around the world. The boxes also include the message of the gospel. We are also very involved in our church’s efforts to pack and send boxes.
Why do we do this? It feels right and it is right. In the Bible God speaks often of giving to others, helping the poor. When I realize that my small gift can help a child receive valuable resources: nutritious food, medical care, and an education it makes it seem like most of my own purchases are “moth and rust”. I’ve read dozens of Operation Christmas Child stories of children whose lives were changed by receiving a shoe box. Having something new and personal for the first time has helped children to feel valuable and worthwhile. Children receiving pencils have been enabled to go to school.
Don’t get me wrong, I am hardly living a sparse life. I live in a nice home, my kids have plenty of toys, we go out to eat occasionally and really don’t lack much in the way of physical comforts. There is more that I could give up and do to help others – but I’m a work in progress myself! However, we have made choices that do impact our lives in small ways so that we might be able to do more for the Kingdom of God – so the gospel can go out and so those in need might have a bit of comfort. I never regret giving, knowing that it pleases God and blesses others is a treasure all of its own!