November 30, 2010
The Gift of Hope
LeAnn Rice
Executive Director, Proverbs 31 Ministries

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17 (NIV)         


Devotion:
Wealth is something I didn't think I had.

As a single mom widowed over 13 years ago, I don't have money for extras like new clothes or weekend trips. Therefore, I didn't think it was possible for me to give much to others and this made me sad. Until I realized it's not the size of a gift that matters.

It's the amount of hope wrapped around the gift that makes all the difference.

I learned about true wealth through a sweet little boy I met during a missions trip to Ecuador with Compassion International.

Miguel lives in a one-room house with his mother and three siblings. They share a bed that lies on a dirt floor. They have no bathroom and no electricity. The vegetables his mother used to prepare their evening meal consisted of peelings and rotting parts that certainly would never have made it into one of my recipes. I would have mindlessly thrown them away.

My eyes filled with tears of sadness as I stared true poverty in the face. But Miguel's eyes were filled with a rare and precious joy. A sponsor had breathed the gift of hope into Miguel's life, which made all the difference.

This experience challenged me. I was compelled to figure out a way to sponsor a child and make this same kind of impact. Though I can't solve all the problems of the world, I can give the gift of hope to one life and that's a great start.

My brief encounter with Miguel taught me so much about the true meaning of wealth, and I think of him often. I think of him when I catch myself complaining that my 1,000 square foot house is too small, or when my power bill is more than I expected. But mostly, I think of Miguel when I need to be reminded that the gift of hope is priceless.

My friends, this weekend many of us will put up our Christmas tree and hang bright lights and stockings. We will set up our nativity scenes and sing Christmas carols. And in the midst of our Christmas traditions, we will turn our hearts toward the reason we celebrate.

What better way to celebrate Jesus than to wrap our hope around the lives of those with needs greater than ours?

We can share our hope by serving at our local soup kitchen, or filling shoe boxes with small toys and treats for underprivileged children to open on Christmas day.

We can collect coats and blankets to give to homeless families in our communities.

Or we can sponsor a child, like Miguel, which provides school supplies, spiritual nourishment, health care and clothing.

No matter how big or small our budget, we can make a difference. As we reach out to those around us in Jesus' Name, we provide something much more valuable than any earthly treasure. We share the gift of hope!

Dear Lord, give me Your eyes to see and Your ears to hear the needs of those around me; not just at Christmas, but always. I long to share Your passion for the poor and the needy. Help me remember true wealth is not measured by the size of my bank account, but by the size of my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Visit LeAnn's She Cooks website for practical ways you can bring hope to those around you this holiday season and throughout the year, regardless of your budget.

Prayerfully consider Sponsoring a Child through Compassion International as a Christmas gift to Jesus this year. Children sponsored through Compassion International learn about Jesus as they receive healthcare, tutoring, school supplies, clothing, and vocational training. When you sponsor a child you not only change the life of a child, you change the life of a family and a community, in Jesus' Name.

Do You Know Jesus?

Sharing Grace: Recipes - Family Traditions - Gift Ideas by LeAnn Rice
Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most by Dr. Wess Stafford

Application Steps: 

Look for opportunities to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with "the least of these" this Christmas and throughout the year.

Reflections: 

Reflect on Proverbs 31:20, "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." (NIV)

If I take an honest inventory of "my" belongings, do I really need four sets of towels? Do I need to stop for my special coffee this morning? Do my kids truly need that many Christmas presents this year? Who could benefit if I say "no" to any of these questions?

Power Verses:

Acts 2:44-47, "All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." (NIV)

Matthew 25:45, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me." (NIV)

© 2010 by LeAnn Rice. All rights reserved. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org