Coded into our very DNA, we have certain instincts… survival, shelter, food, safety. And for parents, these kick into overdrive, when our children are involved. That said, most parents want MORE than these “bare minimums” for our kids – to provide a better existence, an better lifestyle.
And, my parents were no exception. However, they also had certain ingrained values from their upbringings – coupled with the social and economic climates they had experienced… specifically they had both grown-up during the Great Depression, followed by WWII and THEN, the Cold War. Needless to say, these had a HUGE influence on my parents’ attitudes and how they raised us!
This brings to mind one recurring theme of my childhood, adolescence and even, young adulthood: “Waste not, want not!” And while I DO see the value – especially now, as a somewhat mature adult – as a “creative” and “outspoken” child it led to some interesting dinner table discussions:
DAD: “Little girl, I see you haven’t finished your chicken… pinto beans… okra (fill-in-the-blank with whatever menu item).”
ME: “But, Daddy…I DID try it/ate MOST of it.”
DAD: “There are starving children in Africa who could eat for a week on what’s left on your plate!”
ME: “GREAT! I’ll go get a box… we can send it to them!”
Yeah, you can imagine how THAT went over! Yet it did plant the seeds of frugality: repairing vs. replacing, re-purposing vs. throwing away, gratitude vs. entitlement. And it gave me a new perspective on the world – and my place in it.
And, it certainly didn’t hurt to hear it straight from God, too! “When they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.’” (John 6:12) C’mon, if JESUS collected leftovers, who was I to complain?!
Most importantly, it gave me a mindset of awareness. I realized LITTLE things can make a BIG difference! It also fostered the idea of “giving back” – since we were MADE aware of how much better our middle-class lives were than 90% of the world. And, even as a child, I saved my pennies and nickels to send out into the world… my little way of giving back.
So imagine our delight in learning, THIS THURSDAY (June 15th) is designated as the “Worldwide Day of Giving!” To have come soooo far, as to set aside a day specifically dedicated to charitable acts, exemplifies our very humanity and reinforces our faith.
Notice, we said charitable “acts” – because our actions can LEAD to donations! CHOOSING to simply clean your car in the driveway, instead of using a fancy “wash-wax-detail” car wash every time… CHOOSING to prepare just one lunch a week for work, instead of always getting take-out… CHOOSING to repair that lawnmower, instead of running down to the big box store to buy a “bigger-better-faster” model… THEN taking those “little” savings and using them to “give back.”
God even spells-out a directive to provide for those less fortunate, in Deuteronomy 24:19: “When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.”
He even offers rewards, for those who choose (yep, there’s that word, again!) to follow his commandment: “…He who sows righteousness gets a true reward.” (Proverbs 11:18) You can sow righteousness with your actions, your choices, your mindset!
Now, going back to that okra… today, I actually DO feed some of those “starving children in Africa” and it doesn’t even involve a box, postage OR okra! I just choose to be a good steward of what God has given me (okay… sometimes I’m weak!). But I do keep it top-of-mind, echoing with my parents’ words: “Waste not, want not” and then can just “point-and-click.”
No fuss, no muss… and NO veggies in a box! So on this upcoming “Worldwide Day of Giving” (or ANYTIME) you can simply click on the DONATE button on our website, to begin earning your rewards – while actually helping to change our world for the better… ONE action at a time!