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Every year around Christmas I wonder if I am contributing enough to society. There is so much to do and sometimes I feel paralyzed and unsure if anything I offer makes a difference. But today it felt good to be in the role of helping another learn how to become financially responsible. This gentleman has no experience, no training or modeling, and so has made many poor financial decisions and cannot get out from under crushing debt. He has come to the church many times asking for money, but we know that money problems are not solved with money. The underlying issues must be addressed before his money problems will go away. So we are deciding to help this gentleman again, but this time we ask him to attend free budgeting seminars, seek help from human service agencies to reduce some of his bills, and to get government support rather than try to do it all on his own. He has shown himself to be a person who can learn and grow and I am thrilled to be part of a team helping him get on his feet financially. We will give him money in the short term to help reduce the immediate emergency he finds himself in, and we will support him in referring him, and following up very deliberately with direct assistance in teaching him how to manage money by setting priorities and making educated decisions.

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel like my talents are well used.

Sitting with this gentleman and talking about our commitment to help him if he is willing to help himself, feels just as good if not better at giving hope and relief here at the holidays, than any donations we make. Our help to him will last well past the holidays and to me that makes it quite worthwhile.

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