Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Give a Cow

I'm going to try to mix it up with this blog. A little from everyday life observations, what is going on in the world, thoughts from personal study, musings on popular culture. I have really felt a need to think more about stewardship, and in this holiday season, specifically about giving.

There are a lot of ways to spend money this season. After doing most of my Christmas shopping this year I added up how much money I spent. I don't have a lot of people to shop for, and my family doesn't ask for anything.

(Literally, they don't give me ideas, they ask for nothing, so my Mom is getting a power drill and my sister a supscription to Men's Health...i'm joking about the drill and magaine, not their obsolete requests.)

I was surprised at how much money I droped in just a few hours of shopping. I am not under the shcool of thought that Christians should absolutely not celebrate gift giving. Yes, we loose the reason for the season, but there is nothing wrong with exchanging gifts as a token of appreciation and love.

Yet, I believe we do need an alternative way of gift giving. We need a radical form of spending that aligns our priority with Jesus, not Sears and Roebucks. Think about this, according to American Research Group the average family is going to drop $859.00 this Christmas. (That is the average! Meaning a lot of poor families that spend under $100.00 are being averaged with the families who are dropping $1,500.00)

If we just took off $100.00 for each family we could do some amazing things. Here are three suggestions.

1) Feed My Starving Children. This is a great organization that provides food for malnourished children, look at these facts
$15 provides 100 meals
$30 provides 200 meals
$60 provides 400 meals
$100 provides 667 meals

2)Heifer International. What a cool idea. I was talking to a friend and their family does this every year. You can buy a cow, goat, chicken, pig, etc...that will continue to be a source of nourishment for a family. A cow cost $500, which is quite a bit, but you can give $50 as part of a team. Goats cost $100. Sheep $120.

What I love about this is that it is a gift that is so practical. A cow provides milk and as they write, "Better still, every gift multiplies, as the animal's first offspring is passed on to another family-then they also agree to pass on an animal, and so on."

The gift that keeps giving!

3) Probably my favorite practice during the holiday season is to just bless somebody. Take some money and give it away to somebody you know in need. I love what the Salvation Army does with the bell ringer. For me, there is a bit of a disconnect with dropping change in a bucket. But I love surprising somebody and seeing how that gift affects their life.

4) Money obviously isn't the only gift. Give time, patience, friendship, a cup of coffee, wisdom, a smile and love.

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