The Needy And The Generous

Friday, December 4, 2009
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1 Timothy 6:17-19 – 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. (NIV)

During the years that we wintered in the desert southwest, I volunteered four days at holiday time as an escort for the Salvation Army.

The generosity of the wealthy to those in need was overwhelming. For example, one businessman donated one hundred bicycles each year.

Buses were placed downtown so shoppers could fill them with toys and clothing, which were then distributed at our rented facility. Money donations were used to buy the food that was given out.

It was well organized. Each day, each of the four hundred people who appeared showed proof of income and birth certificates of their children to the twelve volunteers working at computers. Afterwards, we escorts took them through a room laid out with stations for different ages: infants, ages 2-4, 5-7, etc.

One adult could choose one toy and one piece of clothing for each child. They could not go back and switch, but had to keep moving on.

The largest number of bags I handled was for six children, and the least was a bag for one child whose father came. This father was close to thirty, had a limp, and was very thin. His kind manner and politeness were most touching. He was so appreciative of what he chose, but he was disappointed that he hadn't seen Kermit the Frog sooner, as this was a favourite of his little boy. So I motioned to the facilitator to charge it to me, and we added it to his bag.

The last room was where the 12 inch by 14 inch boxes full of groceries were stored, each box with a turkey and celery peeking out the top.

As I helped him out the door, I realized that he had come on a bicycle. We anchored the box on the handlebars and tied Kermit and the other gifts on the back. I watched as he left, asking God please to help him make it home.

Prayer: God, we do give thanks for all those who share Your blessings and their time so that those less fortunate can have a happy holiday. We need these acts of kindness pointed out to balance all the negative, brutal acts that take place in our society. Amen.

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About the author:

Freda Van Winkle
Warren, Indiana, USA

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