Monday, December 13, 2010
Over the last few posts on this blog I've shared some ideas of how you and I can honor God and others with our gifts and all of those suggestions have been about involving ourselves in causes away from home. I'm reminded of Jesus' commission to us in Acts 1:8 where He challenges us to tell His story in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. In this context, perhaps Jerusalem represents my own backyard while Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth represent progressively distant or disconnected opportunities for sharing. In practical terms, I think this means that you and I have both an opportunity and a responsibility to share His love broadly, both close to home and far away.
That brings us back to Jerusalem or our own backyard. What are the opportunities close to home into which you can invest when you honor those you love with gifts this Christmas season? You can be certain that there are many ministry opportunities and needs right in your own community and perhaps that's a place to which God is calling you. One of our friends routinely contributes to the local hospital foundation in the names of their friends each Christmas. By doing that, they are part of making better health care available to everyone here and it's a way of saying, "Your health matters to me." Others contribute to the local public library or church libraries honoring their friends love of reading, children and education. Still others take this time of year to support local ministries to the poorest of our community as a way of expressing their thankfulness for the ways that God has blessed us.
Regardless of where you live, there are needs right in your own backyard which you can support as a way of showing your love for others. A simple handwritten note explaining that you have made such an investment in their honor will be appreciated by those to whom you want to express your love with a gift this Christmas. There may be no more sincere way of saying, "What matters to you, matters to me" than investing in a need that is close to the heart of the one you want to honor with a gift. Even more important is when we are investing in what matters to God.
What opportunities like this exist in your community? How do you think your family or friends would respond to this type of gift?