Saving money on the ordinary to enjoy the Extraordinary!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Extreme Giving

People always ask me why I choose to coupon. And my answers usually sound like this:
“Why pay more for stuff when I can get it for pennies?”
“I am trying to be a good steward of God's blessings.”
“I like having a hobby that saves us money, not one that costs us money.”
Well last night, I came up with a different answer.
A few days ago, it was brought to our attention that a family in our community was in need. Not the kind of need that is a result of poor choices or lack of effort. This was the kind of need that broke my heart; that humbled me to no end. This family of 4 had recently had a baby, and when asked what they needed for their newborn, their response was sincere: “Just the basics, please.” Well thank God for churches that know how to rally around their own, and help meet the need. A baby shower was immediately planned, and a list of baby items was quickly circulated throughout our church’s electronic distribution list. Undoubtedly, our church would make sure that this newborn, God’s precious gift, would be ok.
After blogging about my trip to Walmart last night, I sat at my computer, completely convicted and utterly humbled. I sat in the comfort of my own home, blogging about my cheap diaper purchase, while there were people in my own community who couldn’t even afford diapers or blankets for their newborn baby. I had 4 boxes of unopened cereal in my pantry, while other families had to skip breakfast altogether to save money. I had countless bottles of Olay body wash in my bathroom, while some families would think of that as a luxury. How did I miss this? Why had I never put the two together? It suddenly all made sense…
"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila
Last night I realized one very important lesson: My desire to coupon, save money, and stockpile shouldn’t be for my benefit entirely. God wanted to use my hobby to bless others.  He wants to use me, and my coupons, to be His hands and feet! I know it sounds silly. But if God can use a talking donkey, then surely He can use my coupon hobby, right? What an amazing thought…that something as insignificant as a $0.25 coupon could help minister to someone’s need…
And that’s when it all started! I was on a mission! I was going to be the hands and feet of Christ to the family I mentioned earlier. I ran to my garage, emptied out an old Rubbermaid container, and started to fill it up with items that I had stored away in closets and pantries. 10 cans of Chef Boyardee for their two children, 4 bottles of body wash, 3 toothbrushes, cereal, Q-tips, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste, the list goes on and on. Over 50 items, easily totaling over $100 regularly priced, were in that box. How much did I actually pay for them? I can’t say for sure, but I would guess no more than $10. I can’t explain the joy that was in my heart as I closed the lid on that Rubbermaid container. I smiled. My heart smiled. And I’m pretty sure that even Christ Himself smiled.

While my closets and cupboards may never be as full as those extreme couponing shows on TV, I’m content with what I do have. I would rather give those items to people who actually need them; instead of taking up space going unused.
Now when people ask me why I choose to coupon, my answer is this:
"I want my coupons to be the hands and feet of Christ."
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
Luke 12:48

1 comment: