Living & Giving
Each year, on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, America celebrates “Giving Tuesday.” It is a day set aside to inspire people to support charities and organizations in an effort to help others. It is also a day that ushers in the month of December and the beautiful season of giving!
It’s great to have a special day to remind us to give to others! At Evilena’s, your purchase helps to fund support for numerous causes and organizations. When you buy a mask, your purchase helps Morning Star Mission. When you purchased a ticket to our fashion show last year, you helped support Lincolnway Special Recreation Association. When you attend the annual Frankfort Garden Walk, your ticket helps to support The Conservation Foundation. When you purchase Rejoyed jewelry/art from Evilena’s, your purchase supports an outreach ministry to women who are trapped in the adult entertainment industry. These are all missions that help stretch your dollars far around the world to help real people with real needs. Your participation in these events and your purchase of these products helps so many people in our community and beyond! Thank you for sharing in our commitment to giving and supporting others. We love being a bridge that links PURCHASES to PURPOSES!
One of our favorite places to invest our giving is in Ms. Pearl’s Roseland Good News Daycare in Chicago. If you’ve never heard of Ms. Pearl, please read her book, “A Pearl Of A Great Price.” Visit her website to buy the book and to learn more about the amazing work she is doing in Chicago’s Roseland community. She supports families by offering daycare services, Bible studies, meals, and encouragement to many needy people. Stay tuned for a future post featuring Ms. Pearl and the great work she is doing every day to serve others. She is an inspiration to all who cross her path!
People like Ms. Pearl turn “Giving Tuesday” into an everyday event. She does not give back to her community on only one day a year - she gives every day! THIS kind of giving is reflective of her faith in God, and she gives from a generous heart of gratitude to God for all He has done for her. In her inspiring book, Ms. Pearl shares her motivation for giving by quoting John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”
We give because He first gave to us. We love because He first loved us. We can freely give of ourselves, our time, our resources, because God first gave those things to us! We are simply stewards of all that our Heavenly Father has generously given to us.
‘Tis the season of gift-giving, merry-making, joyful jingles, and endearing expressions of love, hope, and goodwill. Charity abounds in this generous season of giving, and the most beautiful example of gift-giving can be found in the love expressed from God when he so willingly gave his only son, Jesus, to the world. What a gift!
God loved us so much that He gave a gift that would offer reconciliation to mankind, and provide a way of salvation for every person - past, present, and future. God gave Jesus to our broken world to graciously bring healing and light to a sick, dark world. The birth of Christ brought hope and peace and joy!
One of the most beautiful aspects of God’s gift to us was the unselfishness with which he gave us this most precious Gift. He did not wait to see if we would first give him a gift, and then he’d reciprocate. He did not expect anything in return. He did not ponder if we were worth this valuable gift, or if we would appreciate His generosity. He gave a gift that cannot be assessed financially, and He never demanded payment, nor obligation. He simply loved, and because of that love, He gave. He gave us the gift of Jesus so that our sins could be forgiven, and so that we could be reconciled and at peace in our relationship with our holy God. There is no amount of money that could ever repay God for the gift He gave to us. We do not need to be “good enough” to receive His gift of salvation through Christ. There is nothing we need to do to “earn” His love. God simply says to believe and to accept His gift of Jesus.
Did you ever give someone a gift, and they insist on trying to pay you for it? It’s an awkward thing, isn’t it? When we thoughtfully give a gift to someone, we hope that they will reach out and accept it, and that it will bring them joy, and that they will perceive our love for them through the gift. God’s gift to us is no different! Ephesians 2 in the scriptures describes this priceless gift. God graciously offers us the free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. By believing in His miraculous birth, sinless life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection, we can have forgiveness and the hope of eternal life in Heaven with God forever - what an amazing gift! Truly, it is the greatest gift ever given, and the reason why we celebrate Christmas!
God gave us the gift of Jesus, and He continues to give and give and give! His kindness and goodness to us is evident all around us every day - but perhaps we see it more tangibly at Christmastime. We hear the songs, we read the Christmas story in the scriptures, and we give gifts that remind us of the babe in the manger, and Mary and Joseph, and the wise men bearing gifts to honor the beautiful Saviour born in Bethlehem. The spirit of giving is so prevalent during this season!
Perhaps this has been a difficult year for you, and you may feel that you do not have much to give this year. Dear friend, please know that you DO have something to offer to others! One of the most special gifts you can give to someone is simply a smile or an encouraging word. A smile and a kind word costs nothing but a moment of time and a bit of thought. Circumstances may have placed heavy burdens upon your shoulders this year, and the thought of reaching out to encourage someone else may feel like a cumbersome weight to you today. That is certainly understandable. In that case, maybe you can take a moment to say a prayer for someone, or to write a short note of encouragement to someone who has lost a parent or a loved one this year. Buy a poinsettia and leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep. Purchase an Evilena’s gift certificate and enclose it in a card to a friend! Even if the friend is out-of-town, she can shop our store online. This has certainly been an unusual year, but let’s not let that stop us from generously giving to others. We can still observe social distancing and safe CDC practices while finding creative ways in which to give to others!
One of the most cherished gifts we can offer to others is the gift of HOPE and encouragement.
Let people know that they matter, and they are valuable. Look for the good in others, and acknowledge it to them. Notice the little things. Say thank you. Be a light in someone else’s darkness. Spread JOY wherever you go!
God so loved that He gave. He gave a Gift that brought peace and good tidings of great joy! What a perfect example our loving Heavenly Father pictured for us when He gave Jesus to the world!
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6.) Is there some unique way that you can share the gift of peace with someone today? Perhaps you can make a call or write a note of reconciliation in a relationship that has been devoid of peace. Be the courageous one who doesn’t wait for someone else to reach out first. Don’t lose years of time in a fractured relationship waiting for someone else to apologize. Forgive because God first forgave us. Romans 5:8 reminds us that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t wait until we were good enough, or sorry enough to apologize for our wrongs. He made the first move and willingly died for us while we were yet sinners. He is our example for how to give and forgive!
What good does it do to hoard forgiveness? To withhold peace? To be stingy with love and grace? Give it out freely and abundantly! These things are priceless gifts that we can give to others in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. We can give because He first gave to us. Be a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Giving financially is only one way of giving. Money is a tool that can be used to help others, and practical resources are important, but there are many other ways that we can give to one another, and many other gifts that are timeless and treasured, and longer lasting than money or material things.
Give your time and skills to help a friend or a local business/organization.
Give an encouraging word, or a kind smile.
Give the gift of lifting up in prayer the name of someone who is sick or in need of God’s comfort.
Give the gift of time and sit and read a book to a child, or read scripture to an elderly shut-in. Invest time in learning how to use Zoom or FaceTime to connect with lonely people during this time of Covid.
Let go of bitterness and resentment, and offer the gift of peace, love, and reconciliation.
We can freely give these valuable gifts to others because of the wonderful, infinite, abounding love that God has given to each of us.
Dear friends, please know how much we appreciate you! We are OPEN this holiday season and we look forward to seeing you. Your presence is a gift to us when you stop in. We’d love to see you and wish you a Merry Christmas in person!
May the generous love of Christ surround you and your family during this holiday season! We pray that God’s precious gift of salvation is made real to you, especially during these festive days when we celebrate Christmas and the beautiful season of giving. We can give because God FIRST gave His Son to us...because He loved us so much!