Adults and children alike brought forward their Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes yesterday in service while a video played across the screens. The video showed video clips and photos of children receiving these boxes and the smiles on their faces melted my heart. Heather, our youngest daughter, took up her box along with her Daddy to the front of the church and placed it there with hundreds of others. It was a sight to see all those boxes, knowing they would make their way around the world to a girl or boy who might not otherwise receive anything at all this Christmas.
Our pastor, Dave, put it this way - he picked up a single box and called it "a box of grace". He went on to explain that these boxes hold toys, books, crayons, and other things, but most importantly they hold grace. See, each box will contain all the wonderful things that each person included in it, but it will also contain a copy of the Gospel in the child's native language. They will be able to read about what Jesus did for them on the cross. They will have an opportunity to give their hearts and lives to Christ simply because someone chose to spend time and money putting together a small box of grace.
Dave's words tugged at my heart. How many times do I worry about where we will get the money to fix the car, buy new shoes for our girls, or put milk into the refrigerator? Not as often as some, I know. But there are those months we try so hard and are so careful to be good stewards of our money, time, and talent and yet something else comes up and we are faced with an unexpected expense - one that will cause us to think about what we need to give up either this month or the next...and sometimes longer than that.
And yet...every time I worry or think that we aren't going to make it...the Lord shows us His GRACE! We have never, ever, not had food on our table. We have never gone without clothing. We have a warm and clean home in which to live. He has provided funds through a small job or gift card in the mail when we don't expect it. And, despite the times we are wondering if we can provide for our own family, He shows us ways we can give to others. That is the true blessing of it all!
How has He done this? It's been simple things like sales on canned goods in the grocery store so we can give to the Thanksgiving canned good drive. It was a gift card in the mail to Meijer (groceries!) that I received simply for filling out a survey for the University of Dayton sometime over the summer. I've found bits and pieces of fabric and such for amazing sale prices and I've supplemented those sales with fabric I already had on hand. My parents graciously purchased Julie's winter coat for us this year! Family members have handed us items that we were thinking of buying, but hadn't yet because of budget concerns. There are so many other ways in which He has provided and allowed us to give to others and each time, it is like a blessing...a reminder that His Grace is sufficient for me if I will simply trust Him to take care of my every need and my every worry.
The children receiving the boxes in a few weeks...they have next to nothing and some of them face the very real possibility of not knowing where their next meal will come from each day. They struggle with so much physically and I'm sure, emotionally. These boxes are God's way of taking care of them and meeting a very real need - their need for Christ and His salvation. When I think about that...I know in my heart of hearts that if we have Christ and His salvation, we have everything we truly need. We have eternal life and can know that our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord!
My family - we are so very blessed - even during those times we feel stretched financially, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. In reality, we have more than we need and maybe even more than we should. I'm praying the Lord will continue to show us ways to give to others and to show His grace to us. That is what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving season and on this Multitude Monday. His Grace.
Has the Lord shown His grace to you recently? I'd love to hear about it! Glorify Him with your testimony by linking up below!
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