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Thinking about the problems and issues in the world can sometimes be overwhelming. The number of organisations, causes, and campaigns seeking our help in order to solve these problems, is almost as overwhelming.

Being overwhelmed can often cause us to stop, to do nothing, to ignore whatever is causing us to feel overwhelmed, pretend it’s not actually there, and move our thoughts and energy to something that doesn’t overwhelm us…

That’s been me for a while now, clearly evidenced by the lack of fresh content right here on LLG. Of course there’s plenty of other excuses I can make about being super busy with family, or running a business, etc, etc… But we make time for what we choose, and to be honest, giving any time or energy to this blog and what it represents, has been frankly overwhelming – and that’s resulted in… Well very little, as you can see.

Unsubscribe

Over the years I’ve joined, subscribed to, donated to, supported… so many things. You may relate – you come across an epic & moving video for a new cause, read a compelling story of hope sown amongst despair, or hear from an advocate about why their cause is changing the world… and of course you immediately feel compelled to support or give. So you do… Great choice! But in that honeymoon phase with your newly joined cause, you’ve kinda forgotten about the 7 other causes you’ve ‘committed to’ at some stage… And so it goes. Before long you’re receiving a constant stream of emails, letters and information about plenty of great things going on to address the plethora of issues in our world, and all wanting something from you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

It’s time to unsubscribe.

I simply can’t read, digest or support all these organisations, nor could anyone realistically be expected to. So I’m choosing only the organisations that I am really passionate about, maybe 5, and unsubscribing from the rest. I hope to focus on these well – read, pray, give and advocate. 

Inaction

I hope to steer clear from the inaction caused by being overwhelmed. I’m starting by unsubscribing and investing well with those few causes I choose, then I aim to get back into writing more here, and who knows what’s beyond that… I have so many ideas and passions about all this, some of which may or may not happen.

Perhaps you need to do some unsubscribing too, even from this blog (hopefully not!) – be realistic about your current capacity to support a cause. Or maybe you need to subscribe – start learning, supporting, advocating and donating to a cause.

Whatever it is, I encourage you to do something. Be proactive, be planned, be strategic in your support and giving. Choose who or what your support wisely, and choose only a few and support them well. Give generously, time and money, until you feel the pinch.

In some ways it’s a very right response to be overwhelmed – there is a shocking abundance of issues and problems in this world that call for our response. But the wrong response is to do nothing…

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The Pinch of Giving

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Displaced

Almost 2 years ago I wrote a post about what was then called ‘The Largest Humanitarian Crisis of Our Generation‘. At the time I wasn’t sure if this title was entirely accurate, but given that it’s still going on, and has only become worse, the situation in Syria has probably lived up to this title.

Refugees have always been, and will always be a part of our broken world – millions upon of millions of people displaced from their homes in generations gone by.

This last week the Western world was shaken, and somewhat stirred into action by the shocking images of Aylan Kurdi, the 3 year old Syrian boy found washed up on the shores of Turkey after attempting to flee the crisis in Syria. This has lit up the Internet with numerous articles, blog posts and commentary on this situation (and here I go with another!).

Injustice screams the loudest when the most innocent are exploited.

It often takes this ‘loud screaming’ for us to take notice. It takes this sort of graphic imagery to open our eyes to see what these refugees are going through. Continue reading “Displaced”

The best use of God’s stuff

I’ve been reading the latest Compassion mag, and there was one story that I had to share – “The man with 50 kids”. Yep, this guy, David Chalmers, supports 50 children with Compassion! I don’t think this is God’s call on everyone, but his way of thinking is definitely a challenge to us all…

“Since embracing the reality that all I have belongs to God… I have chosen to live simply and am content…”

If you’re already a sponsor then it’s a challenge to take it seriously and be the best sponsor you can; and if you’re not sponsoring a kid… then it’s a challenge to look into child sponsroship, because as Compassion would say, and I totally agree with – ‘it works’.

“I think that as long as people have that mindset – we live for ourselves, we have to have this, we have to have that… then poverty will still exist.”

Continue reading “The best use of God’s stuff”

#colesandwoolworths campaign by Thankyou (*Water)

I’ve always loved the work of Thankyou Water, and now they’ve really taken it to the next level. Some mixed reactions out there in the social media world, so it will be interesting to see how it goes!

As for me – get on board #colesandwoolworths!

Check out the vid and more on the campaign here: http://www.thankyou.co/coles-and-woolworths

The Joy of Giving

How often have you given money to some cause or organisation and wondered if the funds will ever make it to the project or person it was intended? I am generally fairly trusting, and assume it goes where it’s supposed to… though on one recent occasion, we chose to use some of our credit card points to donate funds to the Fred Hollows Foundation – we never even saw any sort of receipt or even acknowledgement that the money went there… in this case I was a little skeptical I must admit! It kinda robs you of any satisfaction in giving, wondering if the funds met their purpose… but the opposite is also true when you see the outcome of your generosity…

Recently I got an email from my mate, Dan, who some time ago collected some funds in our small group for a project in Cambodia. I had forgotten about it completely, making receiving the email below even more encouraging to see the impact that our small notion of generosity made…

// DAN:

Hi Guys!

Hope you’re all doing well. Remember when we collected money for the Mother and her daughter in Cambodia last year, so that they could buy some land and have somewhere to live and make a living? Well, I didn’t just pocket the cash… that money went to Cambodia and has transformed the prospects of this family, so thanks guys! Emma was very excited to send us the following info and photos: Continue reading “The Joy of Giving”

What’s the big deal about volunteering?

A while back I was approached by Tess at Open Colleges, who asked if I could post the infographic below about volunteering. I like to keep the blog fairly relevant to what it’s all about (living a life less greedy, and a little more generous), so initially I was a little stumped as to how this infographic fitted into the mission – what was the big deal about volunteering? I almost feel ashamed that it took me this long… but I finally figured it out today, after watching a video on a great story of a Project HOPE volunteer in the Hati earthquake disaster.

So here it is – volunteering essentially comes from a heart of generosity… it’s generosity in action, and it’s generally about serving others, not yourself. Many of the best aid projects and charity organisations around the globe are run by volunteers. So I have to apologise for my ignorance or stupidity or whatever it was… but volunteering is awesome… and as requested by Tess, check out the infographic below, showing some interesting stats about the impact of education on volunteering. Not sure where the stats for Australia are, but relative to the rest of the world, we here in Oz are a pretty well-educated bunch… and based on these stats, we should also be getting right into the volunteering! Continue reading “What’s the big deal about volunteering?”

Generosity in Action

How cool is this story from CBS in the US:

Tony Tolbert, a 51-year-old lawyer from Los Angeles, proves you don’t have to be a millionaire to make a huge difference. Last week, Tolbert began lending his house to a formerly homeless family for a year while he moves back in with his parents.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57561565/man-offers-his-house-to-homeless-family-for-a-year/

What’s It Like to Live Below the Line?

Some good friends from church, the Jacobs family, were one group among thousands of other Aussies who recently took part in Live Below the Line. I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask them about the experience and get some insights into what it is like to live below the Australian equivalent of the “poverty line”.

“Live Below the Line will challenge you to live on $2 a day, for 5 days. It opens a window onto the day-to-day experience of extreme poverty…”

Here’s a few questions I asked The Jacobs about their experience…

Continue reading “What’s It Like to Live Below the Line?”

“Micro-Generosity”

There’s always lots to read and write about global poverty, “Third World problems” and the massive efforts taking place by international aid organisations, but sometimes it’s good to hear about local action taking place – you could call it “Micro-Generosity” (similar to micro finance) – not ‘micro’ as in a small amount of generosity, but in terms of generosity taking place on a smaller scale, by individuals or small organisations or groups.

These days there are some great tools around that allow people to raise money for just about any cause. Everyday Hero is a great Aussie website that does just this – build your own fundraising page to raise money for over 1200 charities. It’s very popular with over 20,000 ‘heroes’ in action today! Another big one is Causes where “anyone can change the world” as they say. And it’s true – they’ve raised over $40 million for 27,000 non-profits! Continue reading ““Micro-Generosity””