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

“Weather” – Or Not

There is a tree that stands just outside our front lawn. It is completely devoid of growth right now and looks barren and forlorn. The leaves are all gone and it is preparing for winter. There have been ads on the radio to remind us that it is time to change into our snow tires. I bought a new winter jacket and snowpants for my daughter today. But I am still wearing sandals on my feet! Our eldest is on the opposite end of the earth right now getting ready for summer! (Wanna read more about my sandals or my son’s adventures? Check out those posts here and here!) Alas, we Canadians are no strangers to weird weather. All four seasons can happen within the same week — and we embrace it! We’ve turned our clocks back this weekend, and put away our gardens, but we hold out for the sunny days of fall and relish the drawbacks of climate change. If you live here, you understand.

photo: quickmeme.com

If you don’t live here and are burdened with tropical sunshine all year long… I’m feeling slightly sorry for you. You will never experience the joy of riding in your car with the butt (seat) warmers on and flip flops on your feet as you drive through the school pick up line. You will more than likely, never have to remind your kids to wear their “toque” and gloves in the morning, only to see them arrive home from school in their gym shorts and t-shirts. You will never have to scrape 6 inches of ice from your lock-frozened vehicle and sweat to death in a classroom whose school boiler is positioned just below their cloakroom. So sorry you have to have only pretty sundresses to wear on special occasions — that don’t have to match your parka. Poor you.

We Canadians are known for our weather. And for how much we talk about it. We love to start our conversations with weather. Be it great weather — or how miserable we are because of what is happening outside at any given moment. We changed our clocks for daylight savings recently … which gave us more excuses to blather on about how we need to adjust to “the time change” and the darkness that envelops us this time of year. Now don’t get me wrong… it’s a real thing… our beings are affected by weather. Which has me musing…

I wonder why we have weather. I wonder why we have seasons and fluxuations and weird temperature changes and storms and natural disasters. Technically, I know why. Without debating the theologies of pre-flood paradise theories, and how sin caused climate change and how environmental disasters are heating up the planet — work with me for a minute — and just take weather for it’s basics. Rain and the sun make the flowers grow. Snow blankets the land allowing for sabbath rest before energy is needed for new life. Winds cleanse the landscape and shape it. Wildlife flourishes in its own environmental element and adapts perfectly to its own space.

Kinda sounds like life, eh? I think God gave us weather as an example of how life ebbs and flows from day to day. We have seasons of growth, and we have seasons of sabbath winter rest. Storms blow in and ravish the land in order to shape and mold it for new growth. Temperatures rise in our lives and we are full of passion and fire. Other times we are cold and indifferent. Sometimes all four seasons seem to come to us in the same week.

It’s no wonder the disciples marveled at Jesus’ reaction to the weather in Mark 4. “Are you not afraid of this storm?” “Don’t you care if we drown?” We ask ourselves the same questions. “Don’t you see what is happening to us down here?” Ahhh… and then the kicker my friends: Jesus rebukes the wind, and calms the storm. Of course we talk about the weather so much! Our human minds are frail, weak and questioning. Our faith is small. We still haven’t learned to trust in the Master and His words. We don’t recognize that He is in control of the ebb and flow of life. Weather — or not.

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!