Day 9: God Loves A Cheerful Giver

Today, I had the privilege of ringing bells outside of Walmart for Salvation Army. This was my first official service opportunity as a new member of the National Honor Society to which I was inducted this past October. As an academically inclined student who is also heavily involved in extracurriculars, it is often hard for me to find the time to serve in my community. I’ve lived in this town for fifteen years next month, pretty much my entire remembering life, and aside from the occasional requirements, I seldom do anything for the betterment of my community or the benefit of its citizens. But even with all of the hours I need to complete my two years in this society, I could still easily meet the stipulations of the program without batting an eye to what service is all about.

As I stood outside in the cold this afternoon with a silver bell in my hand, I thought it was just going to be a miserable and boring couple hours. And yes, to an extent, it was rather uneventful, but I also saw a glimpse of that sense of community that I’ve been sorely missing from my life for quite some time. Several encounters with these strangers who were just doing their mundane shopping routines stood out to me today. An elderly woman with a big black purse slipped in a rather generous amount of money into the bucket. She simply smiled and waved as she walked away, as if she’d only contributed a penny. A middle-aged man in dirty overalls dropped a couple of quarters into the red metal can. He apologized and said it was all he had to give right now. Two joyous little boys had dollar bills given to them by their grandpa wadded up in their hands. They ran up to me with such jubilation as they comically attempted to shove the crumpled cash into the small opening of the container. Several others searched their pockets for loose change and folded up money, and those that managed to find some made their way over to contribute to the cause. Through it all, I greeted the givers with a smile, a ring of my bell, a thanks for their graciousness, and a send-off of a very Merry Christmas. Even on a chilly afternoon in mid-December, I still felt so much warmth.

Why does this warmth I felt have anything to do with Momma? Maybe it’s just because everything I do nowadays makes me think of her. But as I smiled at all these strangers at one specific and seemingly insignificant moment in time, I was reminded of Momma’s huge heart for serving others. I’ll admit, when I’m out and about, all I want to do is slip in and out of the place, never once smiling or giving any indication that I want to be there. But Momma on the other hand? She saw almost every outing, every trek to the supermarket, every trip to the library, every time she was ever out in public, as an opportunity to make new friends and to spread the love of Jesus that seemed to exude from her very being. It’s amazing how much one smile, one friendly encounter, or one moment in time can brighten up someone’s whole day, and, in special cases, change that person’s life.

I’m not saying that today was a life-changer or a huge revelation for me or anything like that. But I do think it is a good reminder for me and for all of us that serving others with the heart of Jesus isn’t always found in huge gestures or big mission trips or radical actions. It can be found in the little things, in the everyday things, too, right here in my community. God’s people are everywhere. The opportunities to show God’s love for them are everywhere. I don’t need to go out of my way to find them right now. So as I go about my boring days at school, or as I begin to rack up service points for NHS this next semester, I won’t do it with an unwilling attitude. Instead, I’ll remember that God loves a cheerful giver, and I’ll serve others with a joyful heart, keeping my Momma’s giving spirit in mind 💜

-Sara Joy

~ by Sara Espiritu on December 13, 2019.

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