Imagine you are in the thick of the Christmas party season. You’re doing the festive tour of parties. The economy seems to be ticking up, spirits are buoyed by the holiday spirit, and you found that big screen plasma on Black Friday and decided you could use it as a gift to yourself. Life is starting to feel much better.
At one particular party you’re going through the buffet line and loving the little snack crackers and cheese. As you find a group of people to talk to, you notice someone just a bit off to the side. He doesn’t seem to be in a great mood. Being the holiday season, you naturally want to include people and try to cheer them up. Going over you introduce yourself and say something light like, “What a great party, huh?”
And he responds:
4 Hear this, you who trample
on the needy and destroy
the poor of the land,
“When will the new moon
be over so that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath
so that we may offer wheat for sale,
make the ephah smaller,
enlarge the shekel,
and deceive with false balances,
6 in order to buy the needy for silver
and the helpless for sandals,
and sell garbage as grain?”
To which you turn around and shout out to no one in particular: “Okay, who invited Amos to the party?”
Prophets don’t come only in times of doom and gloom. They come when the economy does pretty good as well. When everyone is feeling pretty good about themselves, the prophet tends to plug in the spiritual diagnostic machine and say, “Whoa. We have a problem here.”
Let’s not be calloused in our holiday spirit. Let’s not forget the power of the Kingdom and the urgency of the Kingdom message. It is to proclaim the good news to the poor (and that’s not just in spirit) and set the captives free.
Think about expanding your giving this year. Instead of giving someone something they really don’t need this year, how about giving them the gift of honoring them by giving to those in need? I have been so honored when people give to another organization on my behalf.
One organization is Kiva. They lend out small amounts of money to business start-ups all over the world. Those owners will actually pay back those loans! Then, you get to invest in someone else.
My favorite project right now is the Eliminate Project. Through our Kiwanis organization and UNICEF we are getting tetanus shots to the neediest areas of the world, effectively wiping out a problem for mothers and their babies in the world. This is a project I am REALLY excited about.
Let’s not forget the margins of our world!
What are your projects? Where would you have people give on your behalf?
SPECIAL NOTE: I am looking for good ideas for generosity on this post. SOOOO… if we can get at least ten good organizations to give to (and you can tell me why), I will pick from this post to give away one of the Common English Bibles I’ve been granted to give away, AND, I will pick one of those projects to give personally to (though I’m not loaded like Bill Gates).