By Jean Bowick
Do you rush to change the channel every time you see a hard-hitting charity commercial on TV? Or are you the person who eagerly responds to every worthy appeal? From disaster relief to homeless shelters, toy drives and church car washes – you’re reaching for your checkbook every time a good fundraiser comes knocking.
Whether you’re the person who avoids seeing the need, or who wants to answer every need, take heart – because you’ve got a good one.
Sometimes tender-hearted, truly generous people turn away from charitable giving just because the emotional tug is so strong, or the depth of the need, too great. But kindheartedness doesn’t let us off the hook. If Jesus asks us to love our enemy, how much more should we love the starving child, or disadvantaged youth?
Collectively, we are responsible for the whole world, but none of us shoulders this burden alone. Besides, giving is fun! Not only does it make us feel better (as studies have shown), it gives our lives meaning, fulfillment, and a greater sense of purpose. As Charles Dickens once said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.” Nothing cures depression in our own lives like reaching out to help someone else.
Charitable giving also sets an example of generosity and compassion for your children to follow. Sit down as a family and discuss ways you can contribute to the community together. Identify specific individuals or organizations you can all support, either financially or by donating your time. Are there elderly people in your neighborhood who need help with their yard, or carrying their groceries? Is there a single mother nearby who needs help with childcare after school? Perhaps you’d like to sponsor an underprivileged youth in a tutoring program, or a week of Christian summer camp?
Whatever your present situation, we all have something to give, and every bit helps. One jug of milk. One hour of time. One dollar a day. A small donation can make a huge difference to a child in an impoverished country – or even right down the street. So be the hero in someone else’s hour of need. It could be the smallest thing we give that makes the most difference.
To read more about the personal benefits of giving, visit http://ow.ly/BZOa30fqhoZ. To learn more about the YMCA of Greater Birmingham and our community programs, visit http://ow.ly/hHiY30ftKfZ, ymcabham.org/our-focus, or ymcabham.org/volunteer. #YGive #HelpOthers #FeelGood
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VISION: We will lead our community to become the healthiest in America.
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