This morning I had the opportunity to speak at a school assembly while receiving a very large donation of food items for The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. Instead of citing the usual statistics of how many people we help and how many donations are received at Christmas in my thank you speech, I felt compelled in my spirit to offer a different vote of thanks:
Your generosity forms a partnership with The Salvation Army to share the Good News of Christmas by demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ through the assistance of struggling families at a vulnerable time of year.
Your partnership in the gospel helps people to see that hope, peace, joy and love can be found in every season of life.
Your expression of care reinforces the power of community and restores faith in our common humanity and Creator God.
Your giving changes lives!
This prompting by the Spirit in the moments leading up to the assembly gave me a brief platform in front of hundreds of students, parents and teachers to connect their community activity to our Christian mission. It is too easy to stay in the security of our public image as a charity when receiving donations, but I feel strongly that we need to embrace every opportunity to expand the community's perception of our mission by stepping out of our comfort zone and declaring Christ as the source of our charity!
"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership
in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."