Like many of you, over this past weekend I joined with the masses scrambling to get the best price on all the useless junk my kids hope to find underneath the tree this coming Christmas morning. Being the cheapskate and treasure hunter that I am, Black Friday is one of my favorite days of the year. Part of what I enjoy is just the thrill of beating all of the other bargain hunters going after the same items I am.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but getting everything I start off the day going after gives me a real sense of accomplishment. However, the adrenaline soon wears off and the excitement I’m feeling about the purchases I’ve made subsides. So, if shopping is all the holiday season represents to you, it’s no wonder depression can set in shortly thereafter.
While I have always been someone with a servant’s heart, as I have aged I have come to more and more of the realization that true happiness doesn’t come from how you spend your money, but how you spend your time. That’s why I’m so happy to see the growing participation in “Giving Tuesday” which happened yesterday. Created in 2012 it is a day that encourages people to give of their time and treasure to do good in their community and in the world.
Volunteering is one of the great joys of my life. Whether it be through my church, through the various non-profits we partner with at Stewardship Capital, or through the Rotary Club of Independence, of which I am a proud member, there is no better feeling than helping others. As we speak I am in the middle of helping plan the 2020 Rotary Mardi Gras event at Arrowhead Stadium on February 22. Through our partnership with KC Scholars, we hope to raise over 1 million dollars in scholarship money for local students. (for more information or to buy tickets check out facebook.com/independencerotarymardigras) I also lead my church’s children’s ministry on Wednesday nights, and at the beginning of the year will once again be teaching Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. While I will admit it can all be tiring, it’s also extremely rewarding.
For people who are lonely, lack a sense of purpose, or are just looking for something fun to do on the cheap, volunteering is the best thing out there. What’s even better is many opportunities are family friendly. If you want to give a gift to your children or grandchildren that will last a lifetime, give them a spirit of selflessness. It’s not hard, all it takes is for them to see in your actions that caring for others is what life is all about.
If that all sounds good, but you don’t know where to start, check out volenteermatch.org. There you can browse thousands of volunteer opportunities right in your own backyard. They even give you the ability to filter your search results based on age appropriateness, areas of interest, or by keyword. In the five minutes I was on the site I discovered there are volunteer opportunities at Arrowhead Stadium on game days, which I may look more into next year.
While this year’s official “Giving Tuesday” has passed, the season of giving is just getting started. I know the holidays are busy, but I challenge you to volunteer for a single activity each week until the end of the year. I will almost guarantee that if you do, it will be one of the most joyous and happy holiday seasons you’ve ever experienced.