When we were out shopping Monday, I noticed the bell ringers out soliciting donations for the Salvation Army. Gracie asked why people were standing around the "red bucket" ringing a bell. I explained to her that every year around Christmas, people ring bells hoping others will give money to those who don't have things like clothes and food. I gave Gracie and Will some money and helped each one up so they could drop it in the red kettle. "But why do people only give money to others at Christmas time?" she asked. Although I didn't tell her that, that's exactly what she surmised from our conversation. How true it seems that this is the only time of the year we decide to give to others.
Luke 6:38 says, "I give, and gifts are given to me; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For with the measure I deal out, it will be measured back to me." When I think about this scripture, I am reminded of what happened to my brother this summer. Earlier in the year, he wanted to plant soybeans, as he always does. For some reason, it was not working out that way. He missed the deadline to plant soybeans and was frustrated. That left him with the only option of planting milo instead. Then in July, he had a massive heart attack. Fortunately, milo is self-sufficient as he would be unable to work in the fields for quite some time while he was recovering. When it came time to harvest in August, he and his workers combined around the clock for several weeks. They couldn't get all of the milo harvested! Not only that, but all of his grain bins were filled up and he was having to borrow other farmers' grain bins in order to store the milo for the processors. Each day, 18-wheelers were burning up the gravel roads taking the grain back and forth. That's what I call "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over"! When we are consistent with our giving to the church and giving to others, God blesses us so much that we can't hold all of the blessings!
Last night on WLBT, I noticed the Salvation Army had only received $48,000 of the $230,000 goal in the red kettles for Mississippi. Although Christmas is several weeks away and there is still plenty of time to give between now and then, will the givers show? Or will we continue to walk by while others give and receive the blessings intended for us?