Posts Tagged ‘Giving’

staples-rewards

I recently went to Staples to pick up a few things. I bought a car charger for my phone, a couple of binders and some other useful office stuff.

I went to check out my items and I was asked if I have a rewards card. I thought about it for a second and remembered that I do have a rewards card. But in between me pulling the card out and giving it to the girl at the register a thought ran through my mind.

Why haven’t I seen any rewards from this card yet?! I’ve had this rewards card for like at least 3 or 4 years. I’ve never reaped one reward! I’ve never got an email stating my reward. I have never been told I have any rewards. I shop and I shop and this whole rewards gimmick is really proving itself unworthy. What’s going on here? Where are my rewards?!

So I asked the cashier, “Why haven’t I been seeing any rewards on my end.” I’ve been rewarding Staples by buying their stuff, so where are mine? She replied “Have you gone online and created a rewards account? If you do that, you can see your available rewards.”

“Ok, I’ll do that.” So I paid her and went on my way.

I get home, I go online and create a rewards account. I click on the Rewards icon and I have a grand total Staples Rewards Earning of $.80. Yes, that’s 80 cents. So much for a reward. It costs me more than that in gas to get to Staples one way! What’s going on here?

I brushed it off as another typical marketing scheme. Another way to get customers to buy, buy and buy without being held responsible for the lure. It’s ok, it happens all the time. No big deal.

But a few days later, it came back to me. I started thinking about it again. 80 CENTS!? That’s it?!

Then I realized the biggest problem of all. I asked myself how often do I even shop at Staples? I’ve been there maybe three times this year? In the past 4 years, maybe I’ve shopped there under ten times. Nothing significant really. No crazy amount of spending. Don’t I need to buy a certain amount in order to reap the benefits of the rewards system? I’m sure if I used my rewards card once a week for a year there would have been a larger rewards earned in my account. So it finally made sense.

And then I instantly related this to life.

We as people wonder why we are not being blessed more or even at all. Where are my rewards in life? I talk to God once in awhile, why isn’t He blessing me? I do my part, where are my blessings?!

Here are a few questions. Are you doing enough? Are you doing what it takes just to get by? Just enough to keep you afloat? How often are you seeking God?

Examine how often you communicate with God. Examine how often you pray and how often you thank Him for all you have. Examine your actions towards others and how often you help others. Are you putting yourself before others so much that you are living for you? When was the last time you encouraged someone? When was the last time you spoke to a complete stranger and told them to have a great day? When was the last time you saw someone struggling and instead of tearing them apart to bring them down even lower, you offered a helping hand?

Now where are your rewards? Is there more you should be doing?

We deserve nothing. We get what we give.

“God will repay each person according to what they have done.” Romans 2:6

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

What have you done for someone other than yourself today?

Become Free, Become the Difference.

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Looking out the window of my flight made me realize how minute my problems were and made me grateful to be able to do the things I can do. There are so many things to be grateful for being in Recovery. Not being ENABLED but being ABLE!

I had a chance to visit my brother and his family out in Nebraska this month. I was able to work and pay for the plane tickets. I was able to stay there for a week and spend quality time with my niece and 5 nephews! My brother and I went out to the shooting range, we cooked a 10 pound rib eye over an open fire, watched movies and played video games with his kids. I am very grateful for being able to do all these things with a clear mind and being able to be a good example of what an uncle is and how an uncle should act.

The other day I had a chance to talk to a man who was asking for money in front of a Starbucks. He was homeless and reeked of alcohol. His mission was to get as much money as he needed for whatever his intentions were. I pulled him aside and told him I was going to give him 20 bucks if he would hear me out first…

I was able to tell him that I was once where he was. That I used to be a drug addict and that I know what it’s like to struggle and be a bottom feeder. I was able to tell him that he doesn’t have to live like this. That it’s never too late to turn his life around; to get help and surround himself with productive people. I was able to tell him that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That because of Him, I am able to persevere in His Grace and live a better life. I was able to receive a handshake and a hug from this stranger. I was also able to understand him and not judge him because I was once where he is standing.

I was able to go to my mother’s home for Christmas Eve. I was able to pick up my grandmother and give her a ride to my mother’s and actually show up on time! I was able to spend time with my other brother and his family there and to enjoy great food. I was grateful to be able to give gifts to everyone and grateful not having to show up empty handed because I had to feed an addiction.

I was able to spend time with my dad on Christmas. I was able to make a picture collage of his kids and grandkids all in one frame and able to accept a thank you when he saw it and grateful he enjoyed it. I was able to go see a movie and get some Chinese food with him and have a good time.

These days, I am able to do just about anything. I’m able to have relationships which were once broken. I’m able to help others in need. I’m able to discuss my past and use it to set a good example. I’m able to save money and use it wisely. I’m able to put gas in my truck, to go food shopping and to pay bills. I’m able to live a productive life, a responsible life; a new life from my addictive and destructive past.

Most of all, I am able, and grateful, to be able to trust myself in everything I do and to thank God daily to be under His Grace, to be able to have this freedom. My past is disgusting. It makes me sick when I think of my old lifestyle. The things I used to do, the people I used to hurt, in order to satisfy my addictive obsession and desires.

Being able to do all these things this year strengthens me and makes me extremely grateful for where I am. I am so grateful for a God who forgives and blesses in abundance to someone who does not deserve it, and as small and as little the things I do have, they all feel huge, powerful and meaningful.

I am able to write this, hoping it will help someone to see that when we live life according to the Word of God, we change, we become different people, we yearn to separate ourselves from a life without Him. We need to realize that our addictive nature is not our destined path, that we have it in us to become free from addiction, from ourselves, from our physical and mental anguish, that our mind and soul can rest in the hands of our Savior!

I hope you have a great Christmas with your family and friends. Celebrate and give thanks every day! 😀