While recently trying to think of activities for my families Advent, I had a strange revelation. I mean, I guess it's not strange to think about using the excess we've been blessed with to bless others, but it was the item that kind of took me off guard. It was a bag full of Halloween candy. I don't know if your family goes trick or treating or not, but this was our first year taking our kids. By the end of the night my daughter's bag was bigger than she was, my son had decided he didn't even want to get any more, and I was just trying to get us back home without adding any more to their huge stockpile! It was pretty hard since in our neighborhood we don't go door to door, but everyone has a table set up at the end of their driveway and we were constantly bombarded by friendly, well-meaning neighbors and their gifts of sweets. So we ended up with enough candy to hand out to the entire neighborhood next year and still have some left-over! This is excess that I know a lot of kids would love, so I decided to use it. My kids and I are going to fill little stockings with our excess candy bars and sweet tarts and bring it to the local children's shelter for the other kids to enjoy. I mean, what kid doesn't love candy? It's such an inexpensive way for my kids to learn how to give to others, and I'm all about cutting back on our waste.
We all have those things lying around our house that we really don't want to get rid so they just sit there. Or we just have too much of a good thing. My husband and I build furniture, and in our recent arts and crafts fair had a bunch of stuff left over. It would be great to sell everything that we made, I mean with only one salary (and a teacher's salary at that) extra money is more of a necessity than actual "extra". But God has really been speaking to my heart about tithes and offerings. We give our tithe, but even that is sacrificial giving for us. There's just really not anything left over in the budget for offerings. But God has spoken to me that we are blessed with so many other things to offer up to Him. That the excess in our lives He has given us, even though not monetary gifts, can be used to bless others. The furniture from our arts and crafts show I've been wanting to sell, or the things I have around the house that I was planning on putting in a garage sale, or even the extra time I have during the day since I stay home with my children, all of these things are gifts of excess that God wants me to use for His Kingdom. So this year instead of storing our little left-over items from the fair they are being given out as gifts to friends. Our church has been working in our community with a large group of refugees from all over the world, so the furniture that we built or that we no longer need is going to be donated to the refugee families.
I know of 3 families in the past few months (one just right down the road) who have lost their homes to fire. This got me thinking about just how much I actually have and wondering what it is I can do to help them recover from such a profound loss. Instead of seeing my things of excess as "mine" or even as "dollar signs" for my family, I will start looking at them as ways to bless others. What are some things of excess that you have been blessed with, even if it's not monetary? What are some ways you can use these things to bless others and to impact the kingdom?