Reach Out 2014There’s a particular lesson God keeps teaching me over and over again. He wants me to be grateful and act like it. He’s brought it up from multiple directions over the past couple of years. You’d think I’d be an expert by now. But apparently I’m a slow learner.

The lesson is easy to understand. It’s just hard to retain.

God wants me to be a giver, not a taker. He wants me to reach out with full hands, not empty ones. He wants me to store up treasures in heaven, not pack my closet with clothes.

The lessons began a couple of years ago. I had been growing increasingly uncomfortable over not only the excess of our culture, but also the excess in my own life. (See this earlier post.) Then God dropped a life-changing Bible study in my lap called “The 7 Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker. In fact, I publicly worked through the study here on my website and then led it with women at my church.

I know God was teaching me to be more aware and responsive to the needs of others around me. To be far less self-indulgent. To use the vast resources He has given me and my family to help and bless others.

And I did. For awhile. Oh, but old habits are hard to break.

Recently I realized I had taken two steps forward, but then one step back. “Recently,” as in, just this week. And God’s lesson was refreshed in triplicate.

  • First, on Sunday, our pastor’s sermon was titled “Treasures in Heaven.” Yep, from Matthew 6:19-24. And he challenged us to give to mission work in India our church has partnered with.
  • Second, the team leader of BFF (an advocacy group I’m part of for a girls’ center in Bangladesh) wrote about the possibility of a big endeavor we might take on.
  • Third, I got a message from my writer friend Shellie Tomlinson (The Belle of All Things Southern) asking me to participate in a November gratitude drive called “Reach Out 2014.” This is the one I want to share with you today.

Reach Out 2014

In Shellie’s words, the Reach Out campaign asks “writers and readers alike to kick off the holiday season with a commitment not to simply articulate our thankfulness, but to express our gratitude in a tangible way on behalf of those who could never in their wildest dreams conceive of the type of holidays we’ll soon enjoy. We’ll take the 30 days leading up to Thanksgiving to give and to help motivate our own circle of friends to give with us!”

Shellie not only challenges us to show our gratitude in a tangible way, she offers a great opportunity to do it in a way that supports God’s Kingdom. She has partnered with “Hope without Borders” to raise $20,000 to build a Hope Center for children in Nicaragua.

I’ve already donated. You can find out more, join the Reach Out effort, or donate on Shellie’s site.

Of course this is just one way to show your gratitude. God may lead you in another direction.

But, either way, please join me this month of Thanksgiving to show our gratitude to the Giver of all things by giving to others in return.

In what ways have you been blessed? In what ways could you bless someone else?

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