Stewardship is not always a popular topic in local churches. Often it invokes negative images or experiences. But stewardship is a gift from God, a spiritual discipline and a means of God’s grace.
The above message from Bishop Kenneth L. Cardner was prominent on the back of our church bulletin last weekend. It is timely as we all prepare for the holiday season (and is timeless, really).
Giving is something that everyone can and should do. Yes, everyone. Rich, poor, talented, not-so-talented, young or old. We all, in any of our broken circumstances, can give.
Based on the stewardship definition of time, talent and treasure, I’ve put together a list of things to get us all in the giving spirit. This list is certainly not complete, and definitely not just for the holiday season (or for church!)… please help me compile more ideas in the comments!
The Gift of Time
- Red Cross Bloodmobile (either giving much needed blood or as a volunteer… just the other night I got a phone call. “We’re hosting the blood mobile on Friday. Would you like to donate a pie, 5 pounds of cooked potatoes, or $5?” It wasn’t would you like to donate, but what would you like to donate. That lady knows how to get her volunteers! Love it.)
- Visiting elderly neighbors. Last week Kate wrote about their homeschool lesson in manners. I know that all of us have neighbors who would love to be “used” for homework practice!
- Helping a new mom with chores so she can sit and enjoy the baby.
- Grab some sacks, take a walk, and pick up some trash.
- Participate in local nursing home events. (Is this just a Tiny Town thing?) Our nursing home offers kid parties at Halloween, Easter, and a carnival in the summer. Fun for the kids, and a great change of pace for the residents.
- Update: Check out Toni’s Coupons for Troups program. (Thanks, Kate!)
The Gift of Talent
- Help create costumes or the set for a school or community play.
- Go Christmas caroling!
- Heat up your oven and bake… for neighbors, for new parents, for shut-ins, for someone battling a chronic illness, for a family who’s recently experienced a death. Here’s a list of meals I use to bless others.
- Direct or perform in a community cantata.
- Have your kids (or your homeschool group?) make decorations such as place mats for the local nursing home or hospital. Deliver them together.
The Gift of Treasure (on a budget)
- Operation Christmas Child boxes (if you’re a bargain hunter, you can fill these boxes cheap!)
- Angel tree — I’ve seen many variations, but you pick an ornament from a tree and purchase the gift that’s on the ornament (a fun family outing).
- If it’s not a regular practice in your household, eat an untypically frugal meal once a month (or week) and donate your savings to a favorite charity.
- If you’re switching to a whole foods diet, give your processed pantry stockpile to a local food bank.
- Donate gently used baby clothes and toys to a pregnancy crisis center.
- Last Christmas we made a donation to The Lord’s Diner in honor of my parents, who said they didn’t want anything for Christmas. They loved that gift.
We should give something, because He gave everything. And because it gives us an opportunity to serve. And because it feels so good.