Christmas charities

A survey in 2012 shared that shoppers plan to spend about $854 average on gifts this year[1].

Now that looks to me like a powerful amount of money and I get this crazy feeling about what that money could do if I could just get half the U.S. to spend half that money on charities instead?  What would that do for ending world poverty?  What could that do for ending child slavery, sex trafficking, needless infant and child deaths, global illiteracy, helping the lonely masses in nursing homes, giving orphans and at-risk children shelter and safety?

But before I get carried away in my dreams, I remember a couple things.  First, I think the highest number of hits I’ve ever had on my blog in a day was 108.  I don’t think I’m going to get half of America to read this blog before Christmas time (or before the Internet goes out of date and something cooler takes over).

Second, I remember a story God recorded for us to help people, uh, like me, who get carried away with charitable-donations-number-crunching.  See, there was this big collection fund going on, and there was this big to-do about the wealthy and good-looking parading in.  And then, when nobody’s paying attention and maybe there’s a tumbleweed rolling through town because all the important people have passed by, this widow give 2 coins-of-virtual-nothingness, kinda like 2 quarters, I guess.  And then there’s this big “Surprise!” moment, because this was the giver who got the rain down of confetti and bobbing balloons–well, not really confetti and bobbing balloons, but something way better than that.  This was the giver who got Jesus’ attention.  Jesus saw what she did, and it was her two quarters that He got excited about, as a pastor friend of mine explained one day.  Here are all these people plunking down “big, impressive sums” and Jesus is cheering over two quarters.  The disciples were probably like “Wha . . ?”

So . . Jesus doesn’t care about the amount of money.  He cares about what it costs us to give it.  A little gift can make a big difference, and a big gift can make a little difference.

It doesn’t matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have. (2 Corinthians 8:12, CEV)

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A big thank-you to one of my pastor friends, Pastor Doug.

[1] Survey American Research Group, Inc. http://americanresearchgroup.com/holiday/

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