Photo Credit: Bob_Dmyt | Pixabay.com
We all like to be helpful, don’t we? Opening a door for the elderly man walking with a cane, making a meal for a neighbour or friend when they are sick or just overwhelmed with life, lending a hand at the school fundraiser, and the list goes on. These kinds of ‘helps’ are wonderful and meaningful and are a wonderful way to bless another person.
So as we enter into the Christmas season, many of us are looking for even more ways we can help those who are less fortunate than us. Perhaps your church has already begun it’s annual food drive or toy drive campaign or perhaps as I type you are filling your ‘shoebox’ for that child across the seas.
But what if I told you that some helping doesn’t really help? What if I told you that sometimes our helping can hurt or harm the one we are trying to support?! Or what if I said that while there are many good ways to help, sometimes there are better ways? Whether we realize it or not, many of our well-meaning gifts can sometimes leave the receivers feeling deflated and insufficient. Many have said they often feel despair as they are unable to provide some of the basics of life for their own families and this can be even more amplified during the holidays.
Books like “When Helping Hurts”, “Becoming Whole”, and “Toxic Charity” remind us that sometimes our good intentions are not good enough. “Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people,” writes author Robert Lupton in his book Toxic Charity. If we are only ever responding to immediate needs and never looking at or exploring long-term solutions WITH the person we are helping, we could be doing more harm than good(!).
While our well-meaning gifts may make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, they can often leave the receiver feeling shameful and insufficient as they are reminded that they are unable to provide for their loved ones.
Yikes! Well what is a person to do then??
So does this mean that every food drive or sock drive or shoebox campaign is bad?! Before you start calling me The Grinch, stay with me! Last year on our blog we shared a few articles from our friends at World Renew as they talked about some better ways to help during Christmas.
Enter… Presents with a Purpose
One amazing way to love and bless others is by using the annual World Renew Gift Catalogue. (Here are some neat ways to use the Gift Catalogue with family and friends!) On top of this, many other organizations, both local and global, are now offering gift catalogues or ‘presents with a purpose’, similar to World Renew’s. Here are some great examples below of ways you can help without harming this Christmas.
- EduDeo ministries – hurry their presents are running out fast!
- Sanctuary London – a Covid-19 grant recipient and former NewGround partner!
- MYHouse Youth Centre – a NewGround partner!
Did we miss some other great ideas? Share yours in the comments section below or send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, deacons, encourage your church members to give gifts that will last, especially during this Christmas season! While our well-meaning gifts may make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, as we said above, they can often leave the receiver feeling shameful and insufficient as they are reminded that they are unable to provide for their loved ones. This is why we need agencies like World Renew and Sanctuary London, who are giving people dignity and respect while walking alongside them.
And even if you’ve already set up your display of shoeboxes or started other giving campaigns, know that you are blessed to be a blessing (Gen. 12:3) and never stop showing and sharing the love of Christ!
Want to learn more?
If you’d like to dig a bit deeper into this, check out these resources below.