As I walk in my Harris Teeter I see the familiar face of the Salvation Army bell ringer. Whether people speak to him, or even look his way, he has a "Merry Christmas" for them. I admire the bellringers gift of time and service to ring a bell outside! I have always liked the Salvation Army because their CEO gets paid far less than most charity CEO's.
The annual Red Kettle Christmas fundraising campaign started in 1891 when a Salvation Army captain in San Francisco set up a crab pot and began collecting money for the poor at Christmas. They operate in 127 countries with the mission of bringing salvation to the poor, the destitute, and the hungry by meeting their physical and spiritual needs.
Supposedly the Salvation Army has a salute that members give to each other when they meet. They raise the right hand above shoulder-height with the index finger pointing upwards. According to Wikipedia this salute signifies recognition of a fellow citizen of heaven, and a pledge to do everything possible to get others to heaven also...it also signifies that the Salvationist wishes to give Glory to God and not themselves. I am going to have to watch for that.
Through the revenue from their thrift stores, the Salvation Army is able to provide free rehab services for alcohol or drug addicts, including a 12-step program, work training, and residential facilities. Now there are lots of good organizations out there for us to donate to. The important thing is that we remember how blessed we are and help others.
2 Corinthians 9: 11, "You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." This verse comes to mind every time I walk by the bell ringer at my grocery store and drug store. It is the "every occasion" that Mom and I talk about. I never have much cash on me but I can usually have a little so we try to put in every time.
2 Corinthians 9: 6-8, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." Even if we tithe and give to other charities don't we really have enough to give some extra?
Proverbs 11: 25, "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." I believe this is whether you are putting money in or ringing the bell. Both acts are from a generous person. You can also serve whether ringing a bell or working at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, etc. There are lots of ways to make someone else's Christmas a bit brighter and I bet it will light yours up also!
2 Corinthians 9: 7, "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. If you cannot give cheerfully then God does not count that. You give because you know how blessed you are and you want to bless others.
Luke 6: 38, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Remember, you can never out give God. Go ahead and try!
When you hear bells ringing ask yourself if you are a generous person? A cheerful giver?