What’s in your hand? Not literally, like what you are holding at this very moment. I’m referring to what God-given talents, gifts, and influences you have. You know that God has gifted you with unique talents, personality traits, circles of friends and family, and (if you’ve accepted Him) spiritual gifts as well. My question is, how are you using them to bless others? I was strongly influenced by a sermon series several years ago called “What’s in Your Hand?” Since then I have been asking myself that question quite often. How can I use my God-given talents, spiritual gifts, resources, and influences to bless others, and in turn, give glory to God?
Well, a few months back I really got into couponing. I love to shop, but not spend a lot of money. Once I learned to shop more strategically and take time to use coupons, I was finding myself saving lots on our grocery and household expenses. (By the way, they do take a bit of time but I find it is well worth it). For some reason there are a lot of personal care item coupons out there and I was finding that I was getting lots of these items (like toothpaste) for free or dirt cheap. Even though I have a fairly large family, we really can’t use all that I was able to buy cheaply. So, I started a donation box for these types of things in my garage.
My Dad is a men’s chaplain at Water Street Ministries, which is a wonderful organization in Lancaster,PA. It is not only a homeless shelter, but helps many, many people out in many ways. Dad loves his job and loves the people he encounters, so we hear about WSM all the time. I have also met and our family has had lots of his clients to dinner over at my parents’ home. They give clients that come into the mission something called “Hope Totes,” which are bags filled with basic toiletry/hygiene items. What better opportunity to bless someone else with all of those toiletry type items I have been acquiring? Also, in light of all my kids having spring birthdays, what better way to teach them to have a “giving” attitude rather than a “getting” one? So, for the past month we have been collecting items to put into our totes and I have sewn up some women’s & men’s drawstring bags to put them into. Last night we finally laid out our finds (3 boxes worth!), organized them, and assembled our bags. My gang was SO excited to see all that we had and to put the items together.
- My gang with our fabulous coupon finds.
- Before we actually put everything into bags, we did a little count of how many total items we had. I think we were all surprised that we had 211 items!
- Part of our stash (that’s a lot of deodorant!)
- Overall, we put together 13 bags and had a lot of stuff left over. For example, we ran out of shaving creams and lip balm but had plenty of other items left. Guess I’ll be sewing up some more bags and buying some more stuff.
- Our assembly line in action.
- If you are interested in doing something similar, there is an organization on facebook called “Couponing for Community” that I would encourage you to check out. Also, there is a list of tangible items needed for Water Street Ministries on their website, waterstreetministries.org. If you don’t live in my area, I would highly encourage you to check out local shelters and food banks, or something on a more global level. Giving feels so good and it is wonderful to get children involved.
- So, to wrap things up, I’ll ask you again–What’s in Your Hand? Couponing may be totally not your thing, and that’s okay. I’m personally encouraging you to take a look at what resources you have that you can use to bless someone else today, this week, or on the months to come.