What Can I Do?

“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?

 

 

  • Margaret

    Reading Luke 12. A couple of things stand out to me . . . Firstly this man who had much, credited himself. He mistook the wealth as his instead of God’s. He stored up for himself, when it could have been useful in God’s control. We are told that our Father feeds the birds. Much like manna – our heavenly father provides enough, birds don’t stockpile, manna didn’t keep. Bird’s don’t claim a good eating ground for themselves. There is enough to feed everyone – Jesus wants to feed everyone. There is enough given we just need to realize that what is entrusted to us is for God’s use. Completely.

  • http://mommyluvschrist.blogspot.com/ Carri

    Hi Fawn,

    You are so right. I can be difficult teaching gratitude to our children, it can even be difficult to have it ourselves. I know times are very tough and tight for our family right now. It seems that the last three years have been met with one thing after another when it comes to financial struggles. I often find myself grumbling to God about it. “Why God are we still barely making it week to week? We are faithful! We tithe every payday! We give more than our required amount! You said you would open up the store houses! What gives?”

    I often grumble because we don’t have the fancy iPhones, iPods or iPads or other techy gadgets. We don’t have a flat screen TV, our TV has lines across the top so you can’t read any writing if it is up high. We don’t have hand held video games. All my clothes are old and wearing out and so are my husbands. Our cars are both over 10 years old and have been paid off for years and there is no hope in site for something newer.

    But it is true, even though we struggle in “OUR” society to keep up we are rich beyond most people in the world. We still have a home and all that goes with that. We still have food, even if it isn’t exactly what we want when we want it. We still have warmth, clean water and thankfully decent health. God is faithful and good and I thank you so much for reminding me again.

    We try to give when we can. Some things we do is give gifts to those who cannot afford gifts at Christmas. Last year our daughter gave all her money she received for her birthday to other kids so they could have presents at Christmas, her idea not ours. We often make things to give away and she loves that. Most of all, we are teaching her to pray. We ask the Lord to bring help to those we see, and if that help is supposed to be us, show us how to make it happen. We spend a lot of our time just talking to those at the stores while shopping who seem alone and unseen. That alone can bring joy to someone we wont ever understand.

    Great blog Fawn! Thank you again!

  • chrissy mayer

    quite a few families at my church have adopted an orphan from the orphanage our church helps sponsor in haiti. they have the childs pic on the fridge and are constantly helping their kids think more globally. they read books about orphans, haiti, etc. they make the orphans real in the lives of their kids by praying for them at meals, bedtime, and making stockings at christmas which they display w the fam and later send. i cant wait to do stuff like this!

  • Julie Johnson

    Fawn,

    Twice a year we (everyone in the family) goes thru our “stuff” and the items that are new and or gentle used we pack it up nicely and find a charity or local families in need and give it away. This helps everyone understand that there are people out there that don’t have what we have and are in need. If you find a family in need and take it to them as a family everyone sees how greatful they are and it help everyone to grasp the consect of giving and to be thankful for what we do have. Jesus asks us to be his hand and feet. You are an amazing woman and I am greatful for you leadership. Many blessing to you.

  • Kathy Hewitt

    I think this is an amazing opportunity we as parents and even other people can take to represent the love of God! Personally, I led a team for two years to cook, serve and pray for homeless people in a shelter. The awesome opportunity to spend time, to hear their stories was very good, for all inv ofolved. I included Ashley, my daughter so she could understand how blessed she really was. Even here in Washington State, I’ve had the privilege of bringing homeless people into church to become saved or rededicate their lives to Christ!

  • Barb Salmon

    Our kids will value what we value. Back to our actions speak louder than our words. If you get stopped on the street for a hand out, and they say it’s for food, then take them to the nearest restaurant (i.e., Starbucks) and buy them a meal or a sandwich, and a coffee or whatever, Don’t just blow the person off, and don’t just give money, since they may just want it for drugs. If they need gas, buy them gas. Ask for guidance from the Lord. There are beggars out there (street corner w/signs) that are part of a syndicate (they have a ringleader, and they tethered to him/her much like a prostitute unfortunately).

  • Diane

    I love the idea of a blessing bag…what a great idea. I have often wished that I had something to hand out to those on the corner, but never have I actually put something together like a blessing bag. Awesome idea.

  • FawnCobler

    Great Post

  • Melissa Rus

    God has really been challenging me to get moving in this very area in my life.  I have been waiting to be a missionary… for WHAT, I am not quite sure. In reading the Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns I have heard God’s voice tell me not to wait any longer.  And so I have decided that I am a missionary and need to ACT like one.  I have decided to further help World Vision and their amazing programs by joining Team World Vision.  This is a group of runners throughout the U.s who raise money for clean water in Haiti and Africa by running marathons and half marathons.  I have decided that our family will sponsor another child through World Vision. And Caleb will pick out this child and will be the main correspondent in encouraging and loving on whichever kid he picks.  I am going to Cambodia in January.  I am making sure that I am doing my part to have God’s will done here on earth.  But, I know these things are only a beginning!  And I am so excited about that!  I cannot believe I am going to Asia next winter.  I am freaked out by the distance, the food, the lack of amenities, leaving my young kids for two weeks!  I know that God is up to something within me because HE is the absolute only reason I am doing this trip.  But I just KNOW that I will fall and love and have my heart broken once I reach Cambodia.  I know that this is just the start of a lifetime of me and my family loving on others.  In our backyard and around the world.