Giving with God’s Currency
by Pauline Hylton
“God’s economy is not our economy, Pauline.”
I remember the wise words of my writing mentor, but often they slip through the cracks in my mind as unexpected expenses mount. Like the $4,000 tooth problem that can’t be ignored. Then there’s my 14-year-old minivan that won’t go into drive when it’s below 40 degrees. It eventually moves but needs approximately 20 minutes and a gallon or so of gas. Of course, we can’t forget my foot. I injured it this summer on our farm. It’s a combination of faulty genetics, uneven ground, and backbreaking labor. Who knows what that will cost?
We’ve been farming in North Carolina on 66 acres since last May and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I would, however, love to receive a paycheck. But a paycheck isn’t what’s in God’s economy for the Hyltons right now.
I prayed for a deeper walk with Christ a few years ago. “Lord, I know I’m a wimp when it comes to faith. I live in comfort and safety. My family is healthy. I want to know you more, Father, so could you increase my faith?” I finished with, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”
Didn’t God know that crossed fingers lurked behind my back?
No paycheck for 18 months is startling. It wears on a marriage. It boggles the mind. Mine, that is.
It doesn’t faze God. In fact, I think He’s chuckling.
So what to do about Christmas—the world’s economy?
Nothing. We aren’t buying anything for anybody. We can’t afford it. More importantly, we don’t want to afford it.
We’ll give gifts—the handmade kind. I’ve been canning peppers and okra. I’ve experimented with jams and jellies. I’ve produced salsa and pesto, all from our own products.
We’ll gift time—serving in our church, making a simple meal for a widow, showing hospitality to the vendors I work with at the farmer’s markets. In fact, 15 of the vendors and their families are coming for lunch on Sunday. I’m serving our products and pinto beans. The cost is nominal, the return priceless. It’s an opportunity to serve people from all walks of life, and philosophies of life, and choices in life.
The subject of Jesus might come up, or it might not. Perhaps one day it will. And then I’ll invest. It’s God currency.
I think it’s important to remember His economy at Christmas. We’re celebrating Christ’s birthday, and often I’m so busy perusing ads that I don’t have time for Him.
Ads on TV encourage me to covet. Seeds of discontentment thrive. Stress mounts. Before I know it, my stomach will be in knots and my bank account in the red.
So, this Christmas, Tom and I are opting for simplicity. The kind that embraces a stable and a manger and gifts with no cords. And in simple faith, I’m going to trust God with our future—teeth, sick car, bad foot and all.
In the meantime, here are some free to inexpensive gift ideas for Christmas:
- Make jellies. It’s not brain surgery, and there are lots of options. Check the Internet for recipes, or invest in a Ball canning book. The cost per jelly? Depending on your product, $2-4 dollars a jar, including the jar. Time invested? 1-2 hours for 5 half-pints.
Here are two links to recipes:
- Put together a “Frigid Weather Feast.” Mix dried chili seasonings and package in small Ziploc sandwich bags. Throw in two hot chocolate pouches, a can of beans, and a loaf of bread. Package in a garage sale basket. Cost? Maybe $5 per basket.
Here are a few links to dried chili seasonings:
- Gift a “Free Babysitting” night out for a friend. Bring a BOGO coupon for a local restaurant.
- Offer to drive your friends or family for a “Christmas Night Light Meet and Greet.” Pile into your car (or borrow someone’s minivan—not mine), and visit local Christmas light sites. End at your house with hot chocolate and cookies. Encourage everyone to bring his or her favorite Christmas dessert.
- Organize your family and visit the fire station, police station, and local hospital on Christmas day. Give them food and notes and encouragement. Somebody has got to work on Christmas. Why not bless them?
- Drive around to the local area where homeless people congregate. Offer hot coffee, snacks, and cards. Hand out a tract about the birth of Christ. Click here for a free tract website.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.