I used to walk by the ringer and think, “Oh I hope he doesn’t look at me.” I avoided eye contact because I didn’t want to give. Coming out of the store I walked fast in a hurry, so as not to be accosted. If only guilt rang more quietly than those obnoxious bells.
The Salvation Army began in 1865 founded by William Booth in London, England. This organization works in over 100 countries using more than 140 languages. There are over 14,000 Corps (centers for worship), and a vast array of social, medical, educational and other community services. Tigard, Oregon is just one city among thousands where red apron-adorned bell ringers stand with their kettles in front of stores during the holiday season.
My family decided this year to ring those give-a-donation bells. We are blessed by Randy, a wonderful man who works for God’s Army. He needed help. At a time when America’s wealth is probably the greatest ever, the number of volunteers and contributions nationwide is dreadfully low.
A whole new perspective is gained when you are the one ringing the bell as opposed to shopping. Values express themselves through the actions of people. Some stopped to chat. Some gave to be noticed. Some sought no attention but slipped in bills. Some wanted to give but passed us by. Some took no notice or at least pretended so. Some gave money to their children and encouraged them to give. One little girl said, “All that!” to her father as if he was nuts. Some children would not leave our stand until their parents gave them coins to share.
Our gracious Father sent His Son to us. William Booth was so moved by that gift that he created an organization that not only proclaims the gospel but also intentionally works to feed the hungry, cloth the tattered, comfort the afflicted. The next time you hear the bells ring why not stop put in a gift, and ask the Lord, “God, how am I doing? Am I generous as You would have me be? Am I thankful for all You’ve given me? Our attitude towards giving and how we handle what we own says much about our character.
Psalm 37:25,26--I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread. He is always generous, always lending, and his children are a blessing.
As Christians our giving is to be proportionate to all we have received of the infinite giving of God. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Not how much we give, but what we do not give, is the test of our Christianity.—Oswald Chambers inConformed to His Image
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)