Our church is a huge supporter of the Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoebox ministry. If you’re not familiar with OCC, you might want to check it out HERE. It’s a Christian humanitarian program for collecting shoe boxes of small items to be distributed to poor children in a number of third world countries. A brochure in the local language tells the recipients’ parents about Christianity.
Our music director is so passionate about it that she’s formed an active committee to help her make extensive plans to help church members find various ways to support it. One thing Kathy does is to have a bin in the church foyer for collecting a certain kind of item; this month, for example, is toy cars.
Then in November, just in time to get the shoe boxes to Samaritan’s Purse in Boone, NC, we have a shoebox party (last year’s is pictured above), where a number of members stick around after church for a free lunch–this time made by a member–and then line up with shoe boxes in hand to walk among the various tables of items and fill them up. It’s quite a sight, and last year we filled over 1500 shoe boxes.
Something new this year has been the addition of a BBQ outing at the church’s new pavilion. For a modest cost, around 250 people signed up for a wonderful meal of BBQ, cold slaw, baked beans, and cookies. After everyone had eaten, Kathy held a drawing for prizes that had been donated–or in the case of a really nice gas grill, heavily discounted–by area businesses.
My wife and I don’t have a grill, and we looked at the one being giving away–the prizes were on display in the church foyer for several weeks before the event–with amusement. Living in a mobile home and having a shed that’s filled just right now, we had to laugh at the possibility of winning the one in the drawing. That one was humongous!
And we kept laughing, right up to the time Kathy announced our names as the winners. I can’t imagine the look on my face, but Kathleen and I just looked at one another and mouthed, “What in the world are we going to do with that thing?”
We finally got up the courage to tell Kathy–she’d been so excited about our winning that we hated telling her we couldn’t use our prize–about our dilemma. However, we’d already had one person volunteer to run home and get a trailer to help us get it home in.
But by the time he got back with it, we’d already found what we considered a worthy family to donate it to. Fortunately, they needed help getting it to their home.
Some people would say we’d made a sacrifice by giving that grill away like that. After all, we could’ve sold it and done whatever we wanted to with the money, but that didn’t seem right. Giving it away did.
I can’t help thinking about King David in biblical times, when he wanted a particular piece of property. I think it was for the temple he wanted to build and which his son Solomon finally built.
The man who owned the property tried very hard to donate his property to his beloved king, but King David refused to accept it as a gift. For that property to have meaning, it had to cost David something.
I think that’s why our giving away the grill wasn’t a sacrifice. Yes, we paid for our meals, which included being in the drawing, but we got our money’s worth out of the food and fellowship. So giving the grill to friends didn’t cost us anything, and it was not a sacrifice.
What about you? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Or can you relate to this story otherwise? How about leaving a comment?
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