th (6)Have you noticed the mornings are cooler? According to the calendar, it will officially be fall this weekend; however, for many the day Big Yellow started rolling, taking children back to school, summer came to an end.  One of the many things people do to usher fall in is start cleaning out their closets.

A  young friend of mine has taken this opportunity to host a clothing drive for Solomon House, a safe house for victims of sex trafficking run by Out of Darkness. She announced the clothing drive at her church and among her peers.  Yesterday, she showed up at my door with bags of clothes for me to teach her how they needed to me sorted, cleaned and hung or folded for Solomon House. We dumped bag after bag of clothes out in my living room floor and sorted them, holding questionable items up for each other to see as part of the educational (7)

She had requested trendy clothing that was seasonally appropriate. She laughed as she held up a sleeveless dress for me to see. Then I held up a green t-shirt that was missing the bottom two thirds of it, a homemade alteration. Her response was priceless,

Seriously? You beat me. That’s awful!”

We laughed as we continued to sort clothes making piles for Solomon House, piles for Goodwill and piles for the trash. I was amazed at the trash pile we had, clothing that was stained, torn or inappropriate. This young lady clearly stated the clothing was going to survivors of sex trafficking. I think some people mistakenly brought their trash bags instead of their donation bags.  Surely they wouldn’t knowingly give ruined, damaged clothing to a worthy cause and think they’ve done a good thing.

Then I had to pause and ask myself a question,

When I give to charity, do I give my best or my discards and leftovers?”

What about you? Do you give from your first fruits, the cream of the crop, or do you give from things you don’t want anyway, so it’s really not a sacrifice?

Colossians 3:23-24 says,

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

We could substitute the word give for the word do in that verse and it would carry the same meaning.  How do I know that? By reading Matthew 25:35-40,

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’ ‘Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'”

When we do for others, but especially those in great hardship and need, we do for Jesus. When we give quality time, quality items and financial gifts, we give to the Lord. BUT when we give leftover time, damaged goods, and financial gifts after we’ve bought all we want for ourselves, we also give to the Lord. What kind of gift do you want to give to the Lord?

Do you give Him from the best you have or do you give Him sloppy seconds? It’s never too late to change your giving. What is one thing you can do differently to give your best to God?