It is a common sight during the holidays. People are in the spirit of giving, so they flock to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other local charities to volunteer their time and services to help better the community. Many places, oftentimes overwhelmed by the sheer volume of volunteers, even have to turn people away. This increased interest in helping those who are less fortunate is something that no one will ever complain about. The problem arises when the months of November and December are the only times these charities and organizations receive any sort of interest from the community.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Many of these groups rely on volunteers to offset financial costs. When there isn’t a stable stream of volunteers throughout the year, it is hard for these organizations to maintain themselves financially. As a result, many of these organizations find themselves having a very difficult time meeting the needs of the community year-round. Having a seasonal heart for giving and charity is not what Christ intended for his followers.
Jesus modeled a way of giving that was selfless and sacrificial. At times, his believers even sold their own possessions to help out a fellow believer who was in need. Repeatedly throughout scripture, you see times where Christ’s followers showed charity as they were living out their lives. There weren’t specific times where they felt called to give; instead, they had a heart for giving and were constantly looking for ways to serve others, not so that they can boast about their morality, but to glorify God. Charity was their way of life, not just a moment of it.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Now, this does not mean that you must quit your 9-5 job or drop out of school and volunteer the rest of your life to charity. If you feel like that is something you must do, go ahead, but volunteering isn’t something that must only be done over the holidays. It sounds like an obvious statement, but charities regularly report high numbers of volunteers during the holidays followed by huge drops as the months go on.
Communicating with these organizations and figuring out their needs is how you can combat seasonal giving and turn it into a lifestyle of charity. You do not need to volunteer every day; there is a general understanding that people do have daily responsibilities. Something that can be done is finding some time where you can regularly serve these organizations. It could be once a week or even once every two weeks depending on your schedule or workload, but giving these organizations someone that they can consistently count on goes a long way.
As a result, your own walk with Christ becomes that much more solid as you are able to spread Christ’s love to others in a beautiful way. You are putting the needs of others before your own, taking responsibility for your own faith while practically demonstrating to others what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. This opens doors for you to share the Gospel and plant seeds in the lives of people who have desperately been trying to fill a void that only God could.