Generosity is a hugely attractive quality. Anybody who has encountered someone who is truly generous will know exactly what that means. There is something about a generous person that draws us to them, that breaks down barriers between us and that we find inspiring: we find that we want to be like a generous person.
Generosity is at the heart of the Christian message. It is because of God’s love for us that he gave his Son, and Jesus challenged our natural impulse when he said that we would find it a greater blessing to give than to receive. God has given, and out of response to his kindness, we too must give.
There has always been a tension within culture between knowing how much to spend and how much to give. We must surely buy things at certain times, but the extent to how much we spend on ourselves and how much we generously give away is bound to cause some friction. There is no universal view on this, with some feeling that very little should be spent on oneself, and some spending a great deal on themselves with all good conscience. It seems to be a personal matter, reliant upon one’s understanding and experience of life, but wherever on that spectrum we find ourselves, one thing is very clear: generosity is not optional for the Christian.
Thankfully this has now found its way into modern society. You may have heard of Black Friday – the last payday before Christmas when shops tend to promote offers to gain more sales. In the last few years this has led to some quite disturbing scenes of greed, with even some casualties being reported as people grapple for all they can get their hands on. This is swiftly followed by Cyber Monday when online retailers benefit from a boom in sales at the expense of a sharp increase in credit card debt for some of the poorest people.
But, in contrast to this, a global incentive has been started called Giving Tuesday, where the Tuesday immediately following that long weekend of rampant consumerism is devoted to charity. This year’s Giving Tuesday falls on 28 November and helps to counter the seasonal increase in greed in two ways; firstly by motivating us to think about how we spend money and to be intentionally generous, and secondly by encouraging people to curtail spending in the stores in order to deliberately set aside a portion of their spending to give to good causes. I think a good deal of us will agree that this is a positive step for our culture to take.
There are many forms of generosity that you can carry out on Giving Tuesday, from being involved in community projects with volunteering, doing some seasonal fundraising activities or by making a direct donation to a worthy charity. One such local good cause who have launched a charity Christmas appeal is Saltbox’s CareLink.
Carelink is our befriending service providing understanding, friendship, welfare checks and health monitoring for isolated and vulnerable older people who may otherwise be invisible to our busy society. We have been able to help many older people over the years to feel safe and comfortable in their own homes as we make regular contact with them up to five times a week based on need. Many are living with some level of dementia and it is especially important for those living with mental and physical decline to have a safety net, to notice changes that signal an oncoming crisis even when they don’t notice themselves.
This Giving Tuesday, we ask that you please consider supporting us to keep this vital service running over the festive period, on Christmas Day, and all year round. Perhaps you can organise a ‘wear your Christmas jumper to work day’ and charge £1 for those wearing a jumper – and £10 to the boss if they refuse! If you’re a baker, perhaps selling some mince pies for a contribution in the break area or at your community group would be the thing to bring a smile to everybody’s face! Or perhaps you're an aazing carol singer ...
To make a one-off donation, you can simply text CALL25 £5 (or £2 or £10 - whatever amount you can spare) to 70070. For other ways to contribute, see our website: www.saltbox.org.uk/donations
With hope for a merry Christmas and happy New Year for you and yours,
From all at Saltbox.
For more information on Giving Tuesday visit: www.givingtuesday.org.uk