Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the sonnets of John Donne, Jordan’s unparalleled career, or even the scribblings of a child’s first attempt to color in the lines. What do these things spring up in us? Beauty, reverence, awe, love? If you are able to illicit these emotions in the activity, then you can’t help but seeing and wondering at the ‘artful’ mastery in them.
However, there are some things about these masterpieces that most of us miss while we are mesmerized by the end result.
Practice, difficulty, sacrifice.
Sure we can buy a painting, or a song off iTunes, buy tickets to a game, or get admission to an art exhibit; but I feel assured that to those practicing and creating such works of art there is no price for the feeling they get in the actual practicing, difficulty, and sacrifice that comes from the creating.
This is the essence of art, and the art and practice of giving is no different.
A ridiculous amount of research has been done across secular and religious fields, on the positive effects of practicing this art of giving. The results show that giving is good for your mood and your health, it promotes cooperation and social interaction, evokes gratitude, and is contagious. These positive effects just keep expounding on others who take it up, and then others who see and take it up, etc.
So, if it is so beneficial, why don’t we do it more often?
Well, because like other forms of art, it can be difficult, require sacrifice, and takes PRACTICE. Also, it often hits us in that place we are most reluctant to share…our wallet. That pay raise we have yet to receive, that new child on the way, that growing child who needs more and more, that new car we have been saving for, or that job we just lost, all make it incredibly difficult to practice opening our hearts and wallets to giving.
Ok, ok, we get it, giving is hard but good. So how do we practice, and practice well, responsibly, and most effectively?
The North Texas Giving Day, annual one-day event, on September 22nd, 2016. This even promotes North Texas non-profits and provides a way to see your practice of giving increased. They percentage match every gift of $25 or more to the non-profit of your choice that is accepted and participates in the event.
They do the homework for you in making sure the dollars you give go to legitimate non-profits, making your only decision to give be one of alignment. Just find the one that aligns the best with your heart, mind, and soul, and give.
On top of this VLA has a generous gift match up to $10K, so your gift will actually be compounded like this.
Your gift Percentage Match (8% last year) 10K match Actual Gift
$25 + $2 per gift + $25 = $52
In addition, if you are like me, you need more than words of good faith. So here is an excerpt from the physical testimony of one of our youth seekers, Martyn, after our latest trip in Colorado; and a shining example of what your gift returns:
“But just when we had almost given up hope, we came over a small rise and saw it: a perfect sheet of pure mountain water, and above it, no longer obscured by trees or distance, the pass, only a few hundred feet up the trail…
Hebrews 11:1 says that “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” As we shouldered our packs and pushed on up the trail, I vividly remember thinking: “This is what faith is. We’re stepping out into the unknown, not knowing what waits for us on the other side of that ridge, but trusting in God to protect us…
Despite the other peaks I climbed that trip, and the other goals I achieved, I will always remember that day on Columbine Pass best of all. Whether I find myself climbing mountains of stone, or filling out mountains of paperwork, whether I face the unknowns of weather, or of the daunting challenge of choosing a direction for the rest for my life, I will always remember: God is in control, and He knows what He’s doing.”