Showing the Love of God
So, a few weeks ago, I started doing something new on our blog. As we spent a few weeks talking about what it means to follow Jesus in the face of partisan politics, I found that I had more to say on that subject than I could fit into my weekly sermons. So I started posting what I like to call "Sermon Follow-Ups" each week to go a little deeper and talk about some practical things we could do to live out the message that we heard on Sunday morning.
But this week's Sermon Follow-Up is going to be a little different. You see, last Sunday, we spent our time together talking about the kids in need in our community who find their way onto the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. But I don't have four tips to offer you on how to support the Angel Tree.
Instead, what I want to do is share with you the impact that our work with the Angel Tree has had in our community. Our church began working with the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Program in 2016. And since we were starting something brand new, I had no idea how it would go. But that first year, we were able to provide Christmas gifts to 85 kids in our community...and this year, we have already shopped for 115 kids.
So, over the course of the five years that we've worked with the Angel Tree, Melbourne Heights has helped make the Christmas wishes of almost 450 kids a reality. Or to put that another way, 450 kids have been able to celebrate Christmas because of your generosity.
450 kids have been able to celebrate Christmas because of your generosity.
Now, there is a part of me that wishes that I could tell you one of these kid's stories. I wish I could tell you about how they felt on Christmas morning when they saw all of their presents sitting under the tree. I wish I could tell you how relieved they felt when they unwrapped a new winter coat or pair of shoes. I wish I could tell you how much they loved their new Batman t-shirt or Disney Princess pajamas. I wish I could tell you how excited they were when they got their brand new bicycle, or scooter, or Nerf gun.
But I can't. All of these Angels are essentially anonymous, so we'll never know who received the gifts that we've provided.
But even though I can't tell you about any of the kids who have benefitted from your generosity, I can tell you about the impact we've made while we've been shopping. Now, you may not know this, but a big reason why we're able to help out all the kids we do each year is because of the generosity of one retailer. The good folks at Kohl's work with us every single year to provide us with the best discounts possible so we can make our money go as far as we can.
So we've been working with Kohl's for five years now, and that's given us the chance to get to know a few of their employees a little better. And just yesterday, when we went back to spend our Kohl's Cash and shop for another 15 Angels, one of their employees shared with us just how much this ministry has meant to her.
She told us that she has been one of the people who has helped check us out every year that we've been doing this ministry. And she said that she gets a little emotional every year when she sees how many kids our church is able to help. And she shared how much it means to her that she's able to play a small part in what we do.
I tell you every year when our Giving Sunday rolls around and we take up our special offering to buy gifts for all of these kids, that when we give it shows the world how much God loves us all. And there is no doubt that God's love is being seen through what we do.
God's love is being seen through what we do.
It's being seen by the parents of each Angel when they receive the gifts that they'll be able to give to their children. It's being seen by each child when they open up their gifts on Christmas morning. But that's not all, it's also being seen as we're out shopping. It's being seen by the employees that help us out every year. It's being seen by the customers who wonder what we're doing when they see a small mountain of merchandise piling up in one corner of Kohls.
We are showing the world the love of God...and that's exactly what we're called to do.