There’s something magical about this time of year. The leaves start to turn their brilliant colors of orange, red, and yellow. The cool crispness of the air signals fall is here. I can literally almost smell the turkey roasting, the homemade bread baking, and the pumpkin pie waiting to be devoured by a house full of kids and grandkids. This season of thankfulness is followed closely with lights going up on houses, trees being trimmed by the fireplace, and decorations everywhere you turn. There are children Christmas plays, corporate parties, church programs, and if you’re lucky enough, carriage rides in the snow! The holiday season is a time for watching old movies, giving & receiving presents, and leaving out snacks for a guy in a red suit and his hungry reindeer. It’s a time to celebrate the birth of a baby that literally became the hope of the world! If you couldn’t tell already, this is definitely my favorite time of the entire year.
Giving Intentionally on #GivingTuesday
Part of the magic of this season is the fact that people become more generous during this time of year. The last few months of the year make up what is commonly called the “giving season” in the nonprofit community. In a 2007 study, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University reported that their respondents gave 24% of their annual donation total between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. It was also reported that 42% of households with income greater than $200,000 gave the majority of their yearly contributions during November and December.
Coupled with people feeling more generous this time of year, we now have the chance to participate in #GivingTuesday. Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. It is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday now kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their end-of-year giving. Last year, Never Settle fundraised $5,000 in 24 hours on #GivingTuesday. You can get involved this year on December 1st.
We all have good intentions. We hear the stories, see the pictures and our hearts think for a second, I could do something about that. But so much potential good in the world goes undone because it stops right there. This season, don’t just have good intentions about giving to those in need. Be intentional!
In his latest book, Intentional Living, John C. Maxwell says, “When you have shifted from good intentions to intentional living, whenever you detect a need that matters to you, you no longer think, ‘Something has to be done about that,’ Instead, you think, ‘I must do something about that.’”
Give toward something that matters – something that will last when you are gone. When asked about what our response should be to people in need, my husband, Pastor Don Pittman said, “we should have dirty hands and broken hearts.” Our hearts should ache when we see children in poverty, without clothing, no access to clean water, and no hope of an education. But our broken hearts should not just cause us to have good intentions about changing the world. Our broken hearts should lead us to action and getting our hands dirty.
The Good Samaritan
The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37 gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. The story tells of a man that was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. Two important men passed by and noticed him lying in the street. They continued walking by and even crossed over to the other side of the street. When a third man came by, the Bible says he looked down at the dying man and felt compassion for him (broken heart). He then took action by soothing his wounds with olive oil and bandages (dirty hands). To make sure he was safe, the Samaritan took him to a nearby inn to recover and paid for his expenses. The ending part of the story that is often overlooked is intriguing to me. After telling this story Jesus said, “now go and do likewise.” This is not just a nice story. It’s a teaching parable of how we should treat people in need.
One of Never Settle’s non-profit partners, Samaritan’s Purse, understands this principle well. For over 40 years they have made it their mission to aid the poor, sick, and all who are suffering. After visiting children engulfed in poverty on the Korean island of Kojedo, Bob Pierce prayed this prayer, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” This impassioned prayer is what guided him as he founded and led the ministry of Samaritan’s Purse in 1970.
His mission for this organization was “to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches.” After World War II, Bob Pierce traveled throughout Asia as an evangelist and journalist with Youth For Christ. While on a university lecturing circuit in China, he stumbled across some courageous women who were living among lepers and orphans. They were sacrificing everything to share the love of Jesus Christ. Through their selfless love, God gave Pierce a vision for ministry. He dedicated himself to finding and supporting other such Christians who were caring for the poor and suffering in the distant corners of the world.
In the summer of 1973, Bob Pierce met his eventual successor name Franklin Graham, an adventurous young student and son of Bill Graham. Intrigued by his many stories from the field, Graham began to spend more time with the seasoned Christian statesman. In 1975, he accompanied Pierce on a life-changing tour of some of the world’s neediest missions. God captured his heart for global missions on that trip.
Sadly, Bob Pierce died of leukemia in 1978, but just a year later, Franklin Graham became the President and Chairman of the Board of Samaritan’s Purse. Graham has led this organization through 30 years of earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and famine bringing the Biblical example of the Good Samaritan all across the globe. Never Settle became a funding partner of Samaritan’s Purse in 2014 during the ebola outbreak.
Operation Christmas Child
Hopefully by now you are feeling inspired to not only feel compassion for those less fortunate than you, but you are also ready to do something about it. You’re in luck because Samaritan’s Purse has created an easy and fun way to give back during Christmas time. If you have children, this is also a great activity to do as a family while teaching your kids to have compassion for others.
It’s called Operation Christmas Child, and it’s the world’s largest Christian project of its kind. The idea is to use gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children living in poverty around the world. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 124 million shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries. In 2015, the goal is to collect enough gift-filled shoeboxes to impact another 11 million children.
Here’s the easy step-by-step process to pack and send your box:
- Find an average size shoebox. You are welcome to wrap it if you like, but if you do, wrap the lid and box separately.
- Decide if you want to help a girl or a boy, and pick an age category (2-4, 5-9,10-14).
- Fill it with gifts. Pick a “wow” item like a doll or soccer ball, and fill the rest with smaller items like toys, hygiene items, or school supplies.
- Pray. This is the most important step. Pray for the child that will receive this precious gift. Feel free to write them a note, and include it in your box.
- Track your box. If you like, you can donate $7 online allowing you to follow your shoebox to see its destination.
- Drop-Off your box. Take your shoebox to a local drop off location during National Collection week, November 16-23. Click here for locations.
As the holiday season begins, let’s take the timeless principles learned in the story of the Good Samaritan and put them into action in a tangible way. At Never Settle, we believe in empowering ordinary people to do extraordinary things with the gifts they have been given. Below are some ideas for you to get involved right now.