Beliefnet
Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

presents by photoexplorerAs we move into autumn and toward the holiday season, I’m already receiving solicitations for end-of-the-year donations. No doubt, more will be forthcoming, as well as requests for my participation in activities related various causes.

Scripturally, we can find much justification, indeed much impertive, for “giving our all.” But when we live with chronic illness and pain, and are limited physically, emotionally, and, frequently, financially, just what is our “all?” And who determines what that “all” is, exactly?

There are plenty of people who think they know what we should give and how much, and they can be very strong about their ideas, even to the point of being forceful. There’s the guilt approach, “Others are worse off than you,” and the heartstrings approach, “Could you stand it if this cause/organization/entity failed?” There is the celebrity approach, built on the premise that a famous celebrity will certainly be able to persuad their fans to give simply because they support one or another cause. There is the “everyone must share equally in the efforts here,” which does not take into account that some people might have ample energy and physical ability to participate while others are more challenged in these regards. There’s even the public attempt at shaming you into giving, as I’ve experienced more than once at a store checkout. The conversation goes like this:

“Would you like to give $1.00 to needy children?” The clerk asks, loudly.

“Not today.” I say, gently.

“Oh. Okay. Thank you Ms. Pratt.” The clerk says, frowning, louder – for the rest of the line of customers to hear.

But for all this gauntlet of solicitation, there is only one person who can determine to what and how much time, money, and energy any of us gives. That person is ourselves, individually, in prayer and consultation with God via that prayer and faithful study of Scripture.

Understand your abilities, the time and energy and other physical characteristics that you have to give to an organization or activity. Understand your resources, money, of course, but also things like transportation and accessibility. Lift up the desires of your heart to God – how you want to help, and what priorities you have. Then, move forward and stay firm, keeping strong in the face of guilt and others tactics.

In this way, you will be able to make a more significant difference in the things that are more important, and will feel even more that you are a servant for the Lord, with special gifts that He is guiding you and supporting you to give.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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