My grandma once told me; if you want to see what a person values, look at their checkbook. The implication being that we will spend our dollars on that which we value most. I think she made a fair point. After you pay rent and buy groceries; where is your spending-money going? Clothes? Shoes? Vacations? Jewelry? Books? You wouldn’t spend money on something if you didn’t value it.
I believe a better assessment of our values is how we spend our time. Time is far more precious than money; just ask anyone who has ever lost someone they love. How often do people say they’d give anything for just one more day with someone they’ve lost? The way in which we spend our time speaks volumes of us.
When we think about giving, we often think of giving in the financial sense. If we’re being asked to give; we’re being asked to give of our money or possessions. We equate generosity and charity with the surrender of our monetary assets. If someone says they gave to a charity; they mean they wrote them a check. If we give to the church, we drop money in the offering plate. But, what if you don’t have money to give? Give your time.
Now, to be clear: I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t be generous with their money. Absolutely, we shouldn’t be stingy or greedy with our finances. When we love our money more than our neighbor; there’s a problem. To be blunt: there are absolutely times where people just need cash. I know that’s a bit awkward, but it’s the truth. When someone loses a job or their home, they need money. Your check could be the answer to their prayers.
If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. – James 2:15-17 (NKJV)
That being said, sometimes, people don’t need our money. Sometimes, they need our time. Maybe they need help with cleaning or yard work. Maybe they need help with childcare. If they’re in the hospital, maybe they’d just like a visitor. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. Giving time, encouragement, and care is not just a nice gesture; it’s Biblical.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:13-14 (NIV)
If you aren’t in a place where you can bless others financially, bless them with your time. Give them snippets of your life. Invest in them. Encourage them. Care for them. Love them.
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