Saturday, December 17, 2016

Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 351: Today, I am grateful for the Salvation Army Bell ringers.

You have seen this image in the past.  I can almost hear the chime of the bell. 

Salvation Army Bell Ringers are on my "Once a year" list. These bell ringers bring so much heart to the season, with the simple act of ringing a bell. They reminds us over the noise of the season, that some have very little and the most simple needs. 

Giving to the Bell Ringers falls under the "Randy rules" in our house. My guy has such a good heart. When we first married...I learned to always have coins and smaller bills at the Christmas season because "You HAVE to put something in the red pot EVERY time you go into a store with a Salvation Army Bell ringer." "EVERY TIME?, I asked. "Yes, every time!" He's bossy, but he's cute.
To clarify Randy's rules for the only have to give once per store...coming in or going out...but as long as we have enough...we need to share. We must give.

I carry little to no cash most of the time. Sometimes - I have to ask for cash back on my debit card to make sure I have something to give. I have tried to walk by - but he has trained me well and I just can't do it and have any peace. 
Once, I went in and out of the store without giving, because I had no cash. I sat in the car... convicted... and then cleaned out the car of any change I could find. Randy wouldn't know, but God does... and he put Randy in my life to teach me a true generosity of spirit. 
This year, I find my heart wants to give dollars instead of loose change. Not that we have much more this year, but I think that the more true gratitude increases, the more we can give with genuine joy.  
Our "enough" and "more than enough"...however limited it may seem at wealth beyond measure to some in our community. If we have the internet service to read this post...we have plenty or more than plenty to give to a bell ringer.
Now...I visit Kroger a BUNCH during this season and they have some of the most faithful ringers. Lola Marie Toedebusch - my SIL- has joined the ranks of ringers in Inverness, FL in recent years. You are officially a "Ding-a-ling" ...or is that a "Ring-a-ling"? ... and a generous heart, too.  I have to wonder if that was a Jake Smith rule, too. Kind of sounds like him. 
Thanks to those who ring our friends, Kent-Brenda Geiger have started a tradition of ringing with their family. 
The Salvation Army continues to fulfill the calling to help those with great need. They offer food, shelter and clothing... and so much more as they try to minister to the souls they serve, as Christ calls each of to do. A drop in the bucket is a gift to the Lord. 
It reflects instruction in Matthew 25:
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ "-Matthew 25:35-40 

Today, the bell ringers will ring. They have become a symbol for Christmas. Many give because in another season, they received. Some will give out of guilt... I started my journey at that very place. But, the act of giving softened my heart. Loose change to change a life. Break a $10 or a $20 bill and see how long it takes to pass that many ringers. Such a small price, but when we join in community... lives are impacted. Put the children in charge of the mission. 
Today, I am grateful for the Salvation Army Bell ringers.

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