Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday's Resolution {Be Charitable}

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We are picking apart Jonathan Edward's 70 Resolutions, one week and one resolution at a time. Don't forget to start where he did- "Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ's sake."

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

My paraphrase:

13. Resolved, to be thinking of and looking for ways to be generous, and to meet the needs of others.  

The Scriptures tell us that God loves a cheerful giver. God Himself is the Giver of all good things, and when we give generously, we are imitating our Maker. Ultimately every material good or natural ability I possess comes from God.

Giving generously is simply acknowledging that everything I have belongs to Him anyway. 

Jonathan Edwards resolved to be striving, endeavoring, and seeking out opportunities for charitable and liberal giving. He wanted to give generously to "fit objects"- to meet appropriate and essential needs.

People have been so generous to me and my husband. Sometimes I feel like we are always on the receiving end, being blessed by the generosity of God through others. While I look forward to the day in which we might have greater financial resources to generously bestow upon others,

...today I realize that there are many ways that I can give generously to others, without exceeding our financial means (though we do tithe regularly and give financial gifts as we are able!).

I can generously give:

My time. Taking time to fellowship with and encourage someone who is a stranger, lonely, or going through a difficult time. Giving of my time to teach children, to pray with and for others, or to babysit free of charge for a mom in need. Our time is often the most precious gift we can give.

My hospitality. Recently we had new friends over for dinner. They remarked on how rare it is nowadays for friends to ask you into their home for a meal. When someone comes into my home I am offering to them a little piece of my life, my home and family, just as we are. It can be vulnerable, as I am not perfect, and neither is my house! It can be scary to let people in to see us as we are. Yet it is also a great opportunity to encourage- sharing a warm meal, comfortable atmosphere, and edifying conversation.

Baked goods. Baking is inexpensive and relatively easy to do (again, this just requires a little bit of time!), but it is also a lost art in our culture! Think of how much the elderly widower in your church might enjoy a few muffins, or the invalid some chocolate chip cookies, or the college student fresh brownies to fuel their studying.

High quality hand-me-downs. Let me stress the high quality- if you don't wear that pair of jeans anymore because of holes or stains, nobody else will want them either! But any items of a good quality that you no longer have use for can be generously passed along to others. Sometimes its easier to send a bag to Goodwill or try to earn an extra buck via a consignment shop- but before you go that route, ask a friend, neighbor, or church member if they could use it. Saving them money and giving something that they could really use or might desperately need is a huge way to bless them!Think home goods, kitchen supplies, decor items, clothing, toys, and baby gear.

These are a few of the ways I am learning to give generously on a tight budget. What are some ways you've found to give liberally and be charitable? Let's be like Jonathan Edwards, and reflect the generosity of our gracious God by always endeavoring after new ways of giving!

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