“Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Psalm 41:1
As a mom, living in this over-abundant country, it can be difficult to teach my kids to be grateful. They have grandparents (on both sides) who are above and beyond generous…they love to spoil and treat the kids and the kids eat it up. As parents, Jon and I love to treat them as well…what parent doesn’t? Jon is particularly a gift-giver and especially loves to use the element of surprise. Now, we live on a budget, and we are careful how we use our finances, but in comparison to most of the people living in the world we are doing very well. We have two cars. We have a house with heat and beds for each of the people in our home. We have clothes that fit and a room full of toys. And even though there are months when we eat more spaghetti than I’d like, we have never gone hungry. We have a lot for which to be thankful. So how do we build a heart of generosity into our home?
If you start digging, it’s amazing to find how often the Bible specifically talks about taking care of the poor. We are even warned not to be hard-hearted to those in need and not to have a double standard in how we treat people based on how much they do or do not have. We are told that God will bless us if we help, but that our indifference takes His notices as well.
I think most of us would like to say that we are not prejudiced…that we have compassion for those who have less. But then I start to look honestly at myself…what does my heart really say when I drive by someone on the street who is covered in filth and asking for money? Do I give way to the condemning thoughts or am I turned toward sympathy and mercy? Do I think, “Oh my, I hope they can find someone to help” or do I realize that I am the one right there, face-to-face with the need? Sometimes it feels like the need is so great and I wonder what I could possibly do to make a difference…but just because I can’t feed everyone doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feed those I can feed.
This last week our home-school group got together and made “blessing bags”. I wish I could claim the idea as my own, but I actually stole it from a group of young moms who made this project part of their mommy-and-me play group (thanks ladies!!!) We put together ziplock bags of small snacks and an encouraging note colored by the kids. We prayed over each bag and the people they would eventually go to feed. Each family went home with 10 blessing bags to keep in their cars, ready to hand out when the need is there. I know this isn’t much, but I’m hoping that this will be a two-fold thing…
I pray that each little bag would not only fill stomachs with food, but also ten hearts with hope.
I pray that my kids would begin to grasp that what they do matters, even if it’s small, and to never hold back because the need is too great.
Now I want to know what you have to say…Tell me about things you have done to care for the poor (big and small). What happened? How did it change you? Parents…how are you teaching your kids to be generous?