So today I was watching OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network).
And I ended up watching a couple of hours worth of the Behind The Scenes show about Oprah’s 25th season (which was this year).
One part of one episode really struck me.
I don’t remember what they were talking about, but Oprah was tearing up over the girls in some photos because they’re poor and have nothing and live in tin shacks and whatnot.
Okay, yeah, heart wrenching.
But all the while I’m sitting there like:
You have EIGHT HOUSES.
What in the world do you need eight houses for?
And why do you spend money (or maybe it’s her corporation spending the money; I don’t know) on iPads and junk for your audience?
Spend that money on the people that make your heart break instead of on yourself and random people in your audience.
Yes, Oprah has done good things. (That Pay It Forward thing, starting a school in Africa, etc.)
I understand that the gifting people thing is cool and that a lot of the time the people in the audience are the ones who’ve done things to help other people. Sweet. Good for them.
But no, she does not need eight houses. (When do you have time to get to all of them????)
Or some of the other excess stuff she’s got.
I have like eight pairs of pants (okay, maybe ten), and about that same number pairs of shoes.
I’ll admit, I do not need four pairs of jeans. I can live with just one or two. Seriously. This week I wore the same pair of jeans for like four days.
I don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day.
I DO wear pretty much the same few t-shirts week after week.
When I was putting my room back together recently, I made a pile of clothing and stuff that I don’t need anymore, stuff that I wanted my mom to donate. And I felt pretty good about that.
The other day I GAINED a few shirts. They were shirts I’d had my mom put away in case I wanted them made into a quilt. I decided that since most of them still fit, I’m going to just start wearing them again. They hold special memories from church trips and Bible camp and stuff, and even though most of them have holes in them, I still wear them. I wore one yesterday and I’m wearing another today.
I can live with just a few t-shirts that have some little holes in them.
Other people do.
But I’ve been thinking.
When I was younger, it made me sad that people didn’t have as much as I have (and trust me, I’m not the richest person).
I came up with this idea: I could sell or donate my bed to someone who needed it and just sleep on an air mattress.
After all, I really don’t need my bed. I fall asleep better on a couch anyway…
But that idea never panned out, mostly because I wasn’t comfortable suggesting it to my parents because they probably would’ve told me I need a bed. Or something.
You don’t have to be freaking Oprah Winfrey to make a difference.
You don’t have to be super rich and/or famous to donate time or money.
If something breaks your heart, don’t just complain about it.
I will say it again:
You don’t have to be rich to make a difference.
You don’t even have to give money to something to make a difference, although a lot of organizations are non-profit and would appreciate money.
Give time and energy.
Invest in a child’s life by tutoring or mentoring or something.
If you can, give money.
After I got paid for house-sitting back in March, I had no idea what the heck I was going to do with all that money (because it was a considerable amount).
Sometime after I asked myself and my parents that question (what am I going to do with all this money????), Teen Challenge came to my church. They took a free-will offering at the end of the service. I dropped one of my bills in the plate with very little hesitation*.
I could have used that money on any number of things (clothing, a CD I wanted, a ticket to a show, etc) but I chose to give it to someone else.
*This is not to say I did not hesitate. I did, for a moment, and then I decided “Screw it, they need this money more than I do.”
It is better to give than to receive.
Just before our offering is taking at church, whoever is introducing it prays. Normally the prayer ends with something like, “Bless the giver and the gift.” I like that. It reminds me that it’s not just the money that’s doing good; it’s the person, too.
And before we take offering at youth group, the youth pastor makes it a point to tell people to give what they have, be it a dime or a hundred-dollar bill. Every little bit adds up and helps somehow.
Give what you can.
Don’t hoard your money or your energy for youself.
That’s not going to do anyone a whole lot of good.
By giving (money or time) you’re saying that you care about a cause or a person enough to invest even just a little bit in it/them. And that’s going to bless them as much as it will bless you.
Long post is long. And kind of all over the place. But you get what I’m trying to say, right?