My wife and I recently attended a “Lobsterfest” at the home of some friends of ours. Actually, we’ve attended the past several years. And each year we have been delighted to take a small gift as a token of our appreciation. This year however, along with the invitation came a thank-you to all of us who have graciously brought gifts in years past and an appeal for a special kind of gifts this year. The hosts asked us to bring backpacks filled with school supplies for elementary age children (they supplied a list of appropriate supplies). All of the filled backpacks would then be given to families in need in the area. At the end of the evening, 22 backpacks had been collected along with several cash gifts for further purchases!
The very next day our eight year old daughter attended a birthday party for one of her young friends. About fifteen children had been invited. And once again, a note accompanied the invitation. The young boy whose birthday it was happens to love animals, so instead of bringing a gift for him, would we please bring gifts for the Humane Society? My wife purchased several gallons of bleach and a couple of large bags of dog food as gifts (Once again, the birthday parents supplied a list of appropriate ideas).
I’m seeing this trend more and more in people’s lives. People who are willing to say, “enough stuff is enough stuff.” It’s not that they don’t appreciate their friends loving them through the giving of gifts, it’s just that real joy comes when we can bless those who are in need.
Living in a culture of consumerism that consistently markets that we need more and more to be happy can only be combated by cultivating an attitude of generosity. For an eight year old boy to be willing to give to the Humane Society rather than receive fifteen more presents for himself is an amazing accomplishment!
So perhaps we could all become part of this trend? Find a charity that is close to your heart and find out what you can do to bless it. I guarantee you that if you ask, they will find a way.
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The best way to discover the truth of this statement is simply to try it.
The morning after the Lobsterfest I talked to our friends who hosted it. The wife simply said, “We always appreciated the gifts that people brought, but this was so fun to see the backpacks piling up and knowing that they were going to be given to those in need.”
It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.