This is the time when many look forward to the coming year, planning how to make things better than last year. Many make New Year’s Resolutions involving elements such as physical health, connecting with family, and spiritual growth.
If that’s you, be sure to write down your resolutions, tell someone else about them, and plan the first step. That will increase your likelihood of success by up to 97%.
But there’s one other area of life where I would like you to plan as well. Plan to give away what you have!
Now it’s possible to take that advice too far. But the vast majority of us are far more likely to hold back than to give too much away. And I’m not primarily talking about material things.
When meeting the crippled man at the temple gate Peter said, “What I do have I give you.” (Acts 3:6) You cannot give away what you do not have (some in government feel otherwise, but that’s for another day). But you are rich in ways you may not often think about.
What is it that you have? What understanding, wisdom, time, resources, connections, faith, or insight do you have that others may benefit from?
Why not give some away? Here are some possibilities:
- Resources. Most people think of giving money, but it is much more than that. Gently used household goods, clothing, glasses, and much more may be extremely helpful to those with less physical goods.
- Time. So many areas where you can help with just your time, such as helping someone learn how to read, transportation, companionship, or just your presence. And there’s no better gift to give your family than your time!
- Skills. Sharing what you know may help someone who is out of work develop marketable skills, see new possibilities, or become self-sufficient. Skills you can share may involve work, but may also involve money management, basic healthy living, computer skills, or many other possibilities.
- <Encouragement. You’ve been through something that someone else is struggling with right now: financial loss, relationship trouble, addiction, etc. Help them see that a future is possible, and how to get there.
- <Wisdom. More than encouragement, giving wisdom helps others learn from mistakes they themselves may not have made yet. Not everyone may immediately welcome this gift: you may need to learn creative ways to help them understand.
- Creativity. Don’t die with your music still in you! Stretch yourself to get it out there. Someone out in the world needs what you have to say, to sing, to show, or to share.
- Faith. Your experience with God is unique, but it can almost certainly help show fellow travelers something about their own journey that is valuable. Be both generous and sensitive with sharing your insights in your relationship with God.
There are many more possibilities of what you can give away. Nothing stretches you more than giving something of yourself. And nothing is more satisfying.
“Freely you have received. Freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
Your turn: What do you have in your hand or your life that can help someone else? How can you give some of it away this year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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