A repost from last Christmas…
I had the privilege of ringing the Salvation Army bell over the Christmas holidays. Our church staffs a kettle every year during the Christmas season. This is only the second time I’ve rung the bell. The first time I took my dog, Golden Pete the Super Retriever, as I thought he would help draw folks to the kettle… and he did. But, this time I decided to just go ring the bell by myself.
The kettle is strategically placed at the center of three doors of a local Kroger grocery store where most everybody comes out, making the bell and kettle hard to miss. Over the hour I became fascinated with how some people reacted to seeing and approaching the kettle. It was amazing at the range of reactions I experienced from generous enthusiastic giving to blatant avoidance.
- Cheerful Giver – “Merry Christmas!” as they shove a semi-large bill into the kettle.
- Thankful Giver – “Thank you so much for ringing the bell” as they drop some coins in.
- Preoccupied Giver – Drops a dollar in while talking on her cell phone.
- Forgetful Giver – “I don’t have any cash on me, but I have some in the car. I’ll be right back”
- No Cash On Me Avoider – “Sorry I don’t carry cash.”
- Suddenly Distracted Avoider – As soon as they come out the door they see the bell and suddenly need to make a phone call.
- Long Way Around Avoider – Coming in and out of the store they see the kettle from a distance and take a very indirect route to one of the other two entrances… and they exit the same way.
Maybe I am being a little hard on “The Avoiders” about their reaction to the bell. But, the situation made me start thinking about how I respond to being called to give. God calls us to give and to do it cheerfully.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
God also calls we who are “rich” to give generously. “Rich” meaning we have more than we need.
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. – 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
The verse above changed my entire outlook about giving and about material possessions in general. Read it a couple of times.
Question: Do you respond to God’s call to give with cheerful enthusiasm or avoidance? Leave a comment below.