Why I Don’t Give to Charity Anymore

Okay, okay… it’s not that I don’t give to charities anymore, it’s just that I am getting slightly overwhelmed with the amount of options now! Halloween is over and boom… the holiday blitz kicks in, and my mailbox is full of charitable gift giving catalogues urging me to give great aunt Lucy a dozen chickens! Forget great aunt Lucy… I want a dozen chickens! (But that’s a different story.)

We attended three charity events last week. Three. We also turned down two more invitations for the same week! Is it just me, or does everybody seem to be raising money for something now? And believe me, we are not being targeted because of our large paycheques. In fact, I work for a charity… so I can give a portion of my paycheck away right from the start! My local cashier has been trained to bequest my donation upon every check out… and my name gets written on the wall for all to see. Sometimes you get more than a token name calling… perhaps you get a free water bottle, or balloon, or keychain or… well, you get my point.

And so I muse… how do we choose? How do I know that my hard earned funds are going to really help people, or the environment, or fight injustices? Do I use my givings simply as a tax break, or an excuse to be greener, or flaunt it in my social media calendar invites to prove I am just so loving? Have we become too accepting of donations that we simply don’t give till it hurts anymore? Or have the bombardments made us callous, so that we are wary of scams and frauds. Or we simply don’t give anymore for fear of having our mailboxes overloaded with letters. Afterall, if they used that mailing budget to fund the charity, more money could be used to help rather than advertise… am I right?

How do you choose your Charity?

My usual quick google search of “charity” leads me to see that it is the “voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need” (Oxford dictionary). Biblical research sends me to 1 Corinthians 13…The “love” chapter. We tend to equate charity with love… especially love towards our fellow humans as a result of our understanding of God’s love and ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. I get it. But that doesn’t really make it easier to decipher who, why and when and how. Or does it?

Have you ever met someone who exudes Christ’s love? That aura, that persona, that embodiment that just oozes kindness and sincere “charity”? Not because they need to. Not because they have to. Not because they got a catalogue in the mail. They just naturally love the cause, and want to see it flourish and grow. I think that is an example of true charity. Passion. What stirs your heart, my friend? I’m asking myself the same question right now. Hmmmn.

Perhaps I will have to rethink my Christmas gift giving. Perhaps I will need to be more frugal with my wishes. My lines are not drawn on this one quite yet. How do I choose? I’d love to hear your thoughts… drop me a note in the comments below or connect with us on social media!


I’ve mused about this topic before! Check out these posts: Charity on the Refrigerator The Green Debate and Legacies

Singled Out

Have you ever been singled out? Perhaps your name was picked from a whole collection of names to win some fabulous prize. Perhaps you were called upon to give the answer. Or perhaps your phone number was randomly selected to take part in the wonderful “air duct cleaning promotional sale” going on in your neighbourhood right now, if you would just give the square footage of your home…

I had the privilege of being singled out last week in a way that made me smile. I was scheduled to do a workshop in a school not too far from my house. It was a bit rainy outside, but was pleasantly greeted and welcomed into a neat and tidy classroom full of whimsical decorations and clean, open spaces. On the whiteboard was a daily calendar, weather charts and other routines… and there I was, clearly labelled as the object of the day! Hand drawn in red marker, the teacher had pencilled me in as someone special! And even though she had never met me before, her preconceived ideas of “scientist” even had me wearing glasses! (Which is true, in my case). It made me gush a bit.

Here I was, singled out as someone special. Something to look forward to. Someone worthy enough to be pegged into the daily calendar. An event that will be talked about the following day, and perhaps in a month’s review. Talk about big expectations to fill. Which got me thinking… how do we get singled out? And how do we single out others?

That’s Me! Penciled in on Oct. 24th!

Of course, we love to be singled out for positive things: promotions, special gifts, pats on the back. We are thrilled when someone remembers our birthday and brings gifts and lavishes us with goodies. We appreciate acknowledgements of jobs well done, and ribbons of next level accomplishments. Sometimes those things are well deserved — recognition of hard work, dedication and fruitful service. Hmmn… maybe mothers should get the gifts on your birthday. Afterall, what did you actually do on that day? (But that’s a whole other discussion…)

The Bible reminds us how unique we are. Psalms tell us that each of us are uniquely handcrafted by our Maker. Every fine detail of our being specifically designed for His purpose and pleasure. That alone should make us smile. But it goes beyond our physical. Our jobs as Jesus followers are to be examples to a fallen world. We are the lights in someone else’s darkness. We are singled out to be the only one to do that job, in that moment, for that person. Scary thought, isn’t it?

And so I muse, am I doing it ? Am I fulfilling my pencilled in mark on someone else’s daily calendar? Am I living up to the expectations someone else has of me? Am I doing my best to be the person God wants me to be? Obviously, we, as flawed humans, often fail in our attempts to be God’s ultimate example. We are not called to be perfect. We are called to be honest. To strive for our best, and to be open when we struggle. To rely on His timing, and trust in His providence. And allow Him to shape and mold us along the journey.

October is pastor appreciation month in our neck of the woods. It’s good for us to single out our shepherds and remind them of jobs well done. But we are all part of the herd. Yes, our Lord knows each of us by name, and we hear His voice. But we are part of a bigger picture, intricately melded together, along with all of our flaws and imperfections, to interlock into this vast puzzle that God, in His magnificent wisdom, is fitting together to create a masterpiece!

This is My Father’s World

Ahhh… today is the first of October. And in Canada, fall is beginning to show itself in full colour. With it, comes the sigh of satisfaction at a bountiful harvest, and the joys of quieter days. (We are going to ignore the fact that the weather can’t make up its mind and both snow and 30 degree celsius temperatures happen all in the same time frame — just work with me and my idealized vision of autumn, okay?!). I wasn’t sure what to muse about this week, and was going through the things that have been recently on my mind: Greta Thunberg and her fight for global change, aboriginal celebrations of strength, fall fairs, baked warm apples and pumpkin spice lattes, and for some reason, this old hymn popped into my head:

This Is My Father’s World (Lyrics)

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world,

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!

“This is My Father’s World”, was originally published, posthumously, by the author’s wife in 1901, in a book of his poems. Maltbie Davenport Babcock, was a New York minister who frequented the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, simply to marvel at “His Father’s World”. I think he was close enough to Canada to appreciate the true beauty displayed, especially during autumn. The popular hymn was adapted from Babcock’s poem by his friend and musician, Franklin Shepherd, in 1915. (The original poem contained 16 verses of 4 lines each).

I was reminded of the hymn back on my travels to Wolfville, Nova Scotia this summer, (you can read about that adventure here) and discovered it is also themed in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. As the camera pans the rolling hills of the Shire and all the familiar simplicity of a hobbit’s homelife, we are reminded that despite this era of evil, this is My Father’s World.

So, as our sunflowers begin to droop from faces ladened with seeds, as the leaves change colour and eventually die, as fall mums and ripe apples display their ruby redness against a backdrop of golden hues, I hope you relish the thought that this is my Father’s world. Perhaps you’re off to drown your troubles in a quiet coffee shop with a “grande PSL”. I’m here to remind you: That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet. Happy first of October, my beloveds!