Does Black Friday entice you to get up early, stand in long lines waiting for doors to open, shop for great deals, and lug gifts — which will be given to people we love and cherish at Christmas — to cars parked a mile away from stores decked in holiday style? The day after Thanksgiving is one looked forward to throughout the year no matter how one spends it. Writing this story about Giving Tuesday stirs memories of giving that have shaped my life’s story.
With 62 Thanksgivings under my belt, I think upon those I remember with gratitude to a giving God who loves unconditionally and blesses beyond measure. Thanksgiving, as a little girl, meant early rising, watching the Macy’s Parade, working in the yards, and taking leftovers to people who needed a blessing. My mother and daddy taught the giving principle through example. Daddy would hobble out to the gas tanks in front of our country store (he lost both legs to diabetes) and pump gas with neighborly chat and divine gratitude for good customers. Never, ever hearing him complain was a gift he was giving daily. His giving and doing – when many would choose to sit it out and let someone else take care of them – inspired me to this day to keep going even when it hurts to the bone and to keep giving even when it goes unnoticed. Daddy instilled the joy of “giving and going” that keeps us close even though we are apart.
I can still see Mama filling containers with homemade soup and talking out loud as she worked like a busy bee in her country kitchen. She prayed for people and talked to Jesus like He was right there with her. With time, her gift has become mine. God is ever present! Giving thanks for a close relationship with my Lord and loved ones and the joy of giving keeps me singing (and talking to myself as Mama did) as I keep going with joy in my healing heart and a spring in my step.
In essence, we make choices to go forth while making a positive difference in our world. Sadly, some choose to sit it (life) out on the bench – frustrated, angry, sad, lonely, bitter, indifferent, selfish and seeking help without giving back and blessings without being one.
Those who received Mama’s soup knew there was much love in her homemade brew. That’s what pleases God most; our only duty is to LOVE! God loves watching His children give and do unto others as we want others to give and to do to us. He longs for us to give generously and spread His love around with a sweet spirit. Whatever we do and give should be done and given in a spirit of love. God sees our hearts, knows our motives, and is well-pleased with those who rise above problems and predicaments that can keep us captive and distance us from the Lord and loved ones. When we choose to give generously and grow up for God, every day will be sweeter than the day before as we journey in faith.
Many Thanksgiving Fridays have been spent shopping. Mother also taught wise shopping. The time she invested was a blessing that has helped me save money while experiencing the thrill of a real deal!
Black Friday meant shopping for students in many seasons of my teaching career. Fellow seventh grade teachers loved planning our strategy and setting out early every Thanksgiving Friday to shop for auctions. The Economic Plan brought blessings to students who made good choices and had plenty of money to spend at annual school auctions. Wise shopping on Black Friday meant tired teachers and happy students when auction time rolled around in December and May. Oh, the memories that keep on giving as we remember and cherish times when our giving made a difference.
Giving is honored by God; it makes a difference in lives of those who receive and those who give. Giving is Biblical. Luke 6:38 reminds us to give and it shall be given to us!
Second Corinthians 9:7 says, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving. Dec. 1, is the fourth year it has been observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.). Giving Tuesday began in New York City by 92nd Street Y that brings people together while teaching the values of giving back. This day gives people the opportunity to give end-of-year donations to nonprofits, civic organizations, families, etc., and to encourage small acts of kindness – Paying It Forward!
We, at Tim’s Gift, will celebrate Giving Tuesday while extending an invitation to you and to other nonprofits to join us on Dec. 1. The day will begin with Intercessory Prayer Time at 7 a.m. You are welcome to come by throughout the day for a quick visit or to sit for a spell. We will spin a yarn or two and have a prayer before you leave.
Giving Tuesday Open House will be from 5-7 p.m. There will be light refreshments and drawings for gifts (Piggly Wiggly gift cards) to be given to those who are the blessed winners. We encourage you to come by and learn more about what Tim’s Gift (and other nonprofits that are welcome to be present) do to give help and hope to people here at home.
Jennifer Brewer, Sam Gore, and I have been given the gift of healing by God. We are here to give back and help others because He healed Jennifer and myself from cancer and Sam from heart attacks. Our passion it to share the joy of living and loving even when life ain’t a bowl of cherries! Forest Gump gave generously in the movie that taught life’s like a box of chocolates. Some people get the gooey, good stuff while others get lots of nuts and hard stuff that can break off a tooth…and put us in places where we need help. That’s when the beauty of giving becomes a gift for those who embellish the Biblical truths and enjoy the rewards of generosity and gracious giving.
Please be in prayer for Giving Tuesday to sweep our nation with enthusiasm and support that surpasses what we experience today on Black Friday. Call, email, text, visit our website, friend us on FB, or stop by Tim’s Gift on Dec. 1 and consider giving on Giving Tuesday!
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.