Why we give things away.

17 Sep

Last week my 4-year-old son and I packed up all his 4T clothes and sorted through all his 5T clothes handed down from his two older brothers and older cousin. (He’s a little big for his age.)

As we started going through the 5T clothes, I realized that we had WAY more than we needed to have. So in the middle of the sorting I stopped and talked to Jaxon and explained that we needed to give some of these “new to him” clothes away. (I love that my kids have grown to love and appreciate when something is new to them without asking “did someone else own this first?” We have mostly second-hand EVERYTHING in our house, including furniture, appliances and vehicles.)

Anyway, that’s a big lesson for a 4-year-old.  When you’re just receiving something new and someone tells you that even before you’ve used it once you have to give it away?! That’s tough.

He seemed a little confused at first but he understood what I was saying.  Without crying or begging me to change my mind, we sat down and sorted each piece of clothing and I let him pick “Keep or Give” for each one.  He did a really good job.  We might have ended up still keeping a few more items than we absolutely need to have, but he packed up an entire garbage bag full to give away.  And not all “play clothes” either.  Some really nice items.

We talked about how it will bless another boy  just like him and how excited he’ll be to get new clothes too.

Then I posted on Facebook to my friends that I had a free bag of 5T boys clothes available to whomever could use them this year.

A friend of mine asked for them but quickly said “I’m going to pay you something for them though.”

To which I replied, “That’s kind, but no you’re not.”

We don’t have much money — in fact, because of the move this spring…. we’re at the lowest point we’ve ever been our entire married life except for our very first year of marriage.  And now we have 4 kids to provide for.

There are people who disagree with me.  I know that Dave Ramsey (whom I GREATLY respect) teaches that you should sell everything you don’t need and use your money toward your debt.

(The only debt we have is our house…. which would still be FANTASTIC to pay off, we’re slowly trying…..)

But – I think there are certain scriptures that also apply in this case.

Let me make something REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, clear before I continue on with this post.

I AM NOT AGAINST GARAGE SALES!!!!!  I shop at them ALL the time!  I LOVE them!!!!!  And I’ve had one myself quite a few years back.  And Josh and I do sell items as well.  We have a snow blower for sale as we speak.  So please do not walk away from this post angry that I think if you sell something you’re evil, wrong or sinning.  I definitely DO NOT believe that in any way, shape or form.

That being said, I do believe there is a time to give – with no strings attached.

I’m so grateful for the bags of clothes that have been given to us from my sisters and friends over the years.  There is nothing like the feelings of pulling item after item out of the bag of things your kids really need and can get great use out of, and you never paid a dime.  That kind of blessing is hard to describe in its full measure.

And to have the chance to give that to someone else…. it makes my heart leap out of my chest.

I think that Luke 6:38 applies to this idea of giving with no string attached.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

We’ve seen that the more we give, the more we get.  Both emotionally and physically.

And I also reference the verse found in Psalm 3:27

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”

I know it isn’t necessarily withholding good from someone to have them pay you $20 for a bag of clothes instead of giving it to them for free, however, in my mind – there are people who are turned away from the blessing when the payment is applied.

The clothes might be worth $100 in reality, but the person who deserves the good due them may not have the payment required.  In which case, we hold the power of whether or not to act.

And it becomes our choice – do our own goals of increasing our wealth (even if for good reason to buy more kids clothes or get out of debt) trump the need of someone else?

Sometimes if might.  And sometimes, it might not.

Again, I’m not saying if we sell an item of clothing we’re sinning, or withholding good, or we won’t receive a good measure from the Lord — I’m just sharing that for us, we’ve been blessed by receiving free clothes and giving free clothes – so we continue this habit as often as the seasons change and the kids grow.

Practical Application:

Have you ever been blessed by receiving something totally free with no strings or payment attached?

Have you ever given freely?

Is there anywhere that you might be withholding when you have the power to act?

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8 Responses to “Why we give things away.”

  1. justme September 17, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I too give all extra away.
    I did one garage sale years ago….some of the people were soooo rude that I swore never to do another and have those people near my home again.
    I actually feel blessed knowing that someone will use what I can’t.
    When our kids were little, after Thanksgiving, they knew it was time to clean out the toys. Each one knew that unless they were willing to share what they no longer used, they couldn’t ever expect to receive new. Their self imposed goals were to fill a grocery bag (the old paper sized ones). Even, so many years later, I see them teaching their own kids that the blessing comes from both directions.

    • Kayla Gulick September 17, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      I’m so glad to hear that about your kids!! It gives me hope that this won’t be something my kids secretly resent… but that they’ll grow to love it and teach it to their kids too 🙂

  2. Jenn September 17, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    I love this post because this very topic has applied to our family. I first really noticed it about 3 years ago when we found out we were pregnant with our second baby. Our first being a boy, and either way, the seasons were different, we knew we would need new clothing, plus this one was a girl. The outpouring of love from friends and specifically, church friends was overwhelming to me. I was always the garage sale/second hand store buyer (and still am!) and it never happened that people just “gave.” We received boxes and boxes of clothing from several different families. This prompted me to go through our son’s items to give away. We too, went through a toy clean out and Cameron struggled at first, but now at every birthday, we go through the toy box and choose about as many toys to give away, equal to what he got for his birthday. We, together, take them to the inner-city free store and he hands them over. Just yesterday, his daily quiet time covered this topic: “Pray that the Lord will give you an unselfish and giving heart.” I asked him how we could do that and he was able to say, “like how we give my toys and clothes to other kids.”
    Lastly, Luke 6:38 certainly does apply, and it has come around to our family again. We are expecting (unexpectedly!) again, and after “giving” everything away, we had nothing. The entire furniture set for the nursery as well as about 5-6 boxes of clothes has been given to us again. Amazing! Lessons are being taught to our children and the Lord is providing in all ways.
    One area where I believe I am withholding is my time. This may be another topic, but in freely giving, I believe I could open up our house more, offer to help out with friends children, etc. So thank you for bringing that up as well!

    • Kayla Gulick September 17, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      Awesome Jenn!!!!

      I’m so excited for you that so much was given to you for this awesome new surprise addition!!!! That feeling just can’t be fully explained nor does anything else compare.

      What awesome lessons for Cameron too. Usually by the time toys leave our house, they are all broken or damaged so we’ve never been able to pass on toys. And the older boys have always had to hand down to their younger brothers.

      I still need to come up with some ways to teach them about giving — but you might have just nailed it with “more of their time!”

  3. howsyourlovelife September 17, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    We are big on giving away whatever we outgrow or stop using. My oldest daughter is 18 and last month took a load of clothes to a consignment store to sell, she was curious about how the whole system worked and I encouraged her to look into it. She came home an hour later, totally deflated because it didn’t feel right to sell what she normally gives away. This was so much better than anything I could have said to her, and it showed me that we have been going at it the right way all these years. Keep up the good work!

    • Kayla Gulick September 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      I absolutely love when you share the decisions your teenage kids make. I so pray that I am you, sharing these same stories when my kids reach those ages!!!!!

      • howsyourlovelife September 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        Thank you. I believe you will because 1) you are investing in them now and 2) you understand that you have just as much to learn from them as teach them. I have a feeling we would be good friends if you lived in Nebraska! 🙂

      • Kayla Gulick September 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

        I’ve never even visited. I’ve actually rarely left Ohio 🙂 But if I ever do… I’ll let you know so we can do coffee!!

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