Wanting to give a gift from the heart to their church, the Jones family decided to forgo purchasing gifts this year. Instead, they wanted to teach their children it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). They decided to give the gift of time to others in their congregation and community, not just in December, but also throughout the coming months.
Time is one of the greatest gifts we can give this Christmas. Are you guilty of saying, “I don’t have enough time?” Everyone is granted the same time each week — seven days, 24 hours each day or the equivalent of 10,080 minutes weekly.
‘Everyone can do something’
God has given each person talents and gifts that are unique to that individual. What one person can do might not be possible for another. Not everyone can serve on a disaster relief team. Not everyone can play the piano or sing solos. Not everyone can teach a Sunday School class. But everyone can do something.
Pearl, a 70-year-old woman, loves her church. Last year she picked and sold turnip greens, giving her church $1,000. This year, she will do the same. “God has blessed me with a healthy body and I’m grateful,” Pearl says. “Whoever thought a patch of turnip greens could be a gift for God’s kingdom?”
There is another reason for giving the gift of time this year. With the pandemic still raging in areas of our country, shopping is restricted in many places. Due to various factors, delivery service is slow or nonexistent. Items we planned to purchase are out-of-stock. Some shelves are empty.
The gift of service
Teach your children to give the gift of service to others this year. The following are ideas for volunteering and giving your time, based on scripture.
Lend your voice by participating in the Christmas music program in your church and in the community. “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy” (Ps. 47:1).
Engage children and youth to help adults in a community soup kitchen or homeless center. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt. 25:40).
Serve on the disaster relief team from your church, association or state Baptist organization. “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor. 3:9).
Teach children in missions classes. Children who are active in missions organizations while young, usually continue as adults to support missions. Teach children to appreciate different cultures and customs. Missions organizations teach appreciation of others. “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20).
Visit assisted living centers and nursing homes. Record stories from the residents’ experiences in life. Make a CD for them to listen to later. “Be kind and compassionate to one another …” (Eph. 4:32).
Organize a cleanup day for the church building and yard. “… I rejoiced with those who said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord” (Ps. 122:1)
Organize a prayer chain in your church. Prayer changes both the recipient and giver. “… The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
Be a greeter for your church. Set an example and involve youth to work with you. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God … .” (1 John 4:7).
Make gift bags for visitors. Prepare for women, men and children. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Heb. 13:16).
Organize a team to help those with disabilities who attend services, providing help with wheelchairs, walkers or canes as they enter and exit buildings. “… We work with you for your joy …” (2 Cor. 1:24).
Talk with your pastor about ways to volunteer for your church. Enlist the support of Sunday School classes. Involve children and youth. It is an especially good time to give the gift of yourself. Make this a Christmas everyone will remember.