Friday, December 22, 2006

The Christmas Challenge

32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

Luke 6:32-35 NIV

Thinking about these verses through the lense of this Christmas Season, Jeanine and I have really been challenged to reach beyond the normal giving of gifts to friends and family. Really, the idea was born out of the Christmas Challenge at Southland Christian Church last year as they charged the congregation with going and being Jesus on Christmas Day. Through that challenge and the drive to remember what Christmas is all about, we decided to extend this challenge to our families.

We purchased gift cards from area grocery stores, restaurants, and department stores (Target, Walmart, Kroger, Cracker Barrell, Applebee's, etc.); one for each family group. They were then given the challenge with the following parameters:

  1. Gift cards can be used in one of two ways: They can be given as a gift card, or participants can use the card to purchase an item that they believe will fill a need.
  2. Gift cards, regardless of the method, should be used to help someone that the participants do not know.
  3. The challenge should be completed within three weeks.

We encouraged everyone to be as creative as possible with their gifts; keeping in mind that people's needs manifest in different ways, participants should be open to the Lord's leading in this project. Our prayer for this project is that each person would be blessed by the opportunity to share a gift of love with someone outside their typical zone of proximity.

Each person was asked to come here and tell the story of how the gift card was used. The stories will be written in the comments section of this blog. Check back soon and see how this Christmas Challenge does (or doesn't) play out. We'll see :)

We certainly wish each of you a Merry Christmas!

Celebrating Him,

Justin & Jeanine


The LeRoys said...

We love you guys! I think that this was a great idea! Thanks for being servants!

Becky said...

Justin & Jeanine,

I gave our card to Ronald McDonald House. One of the weekend managers gave it to a couple, Kevin and Kelly Beavers. They are from Greenbrier County and have a premature baby at Womens & Childrens Hospital. The managers had told me that they seemed to be a very nice couple and could use it. I got a note today from the weekend manager who gave it to Mr. Beavers and he was very appreciative of the gift. He told the manager that his Dad is a pastor of a church in Hinton.

I haven't met the couple, but I think Mrs. Beavers is still there.

The Bostic's said...

Well, I finally gave our Target card away. It is a rather involved story, but to make a long story short, a lady is coming from China for 3 years as an exchange teacher. She won't be paid a salary by our county, so I'm not sure what kind of income she will have.

The city of South Charleston fixed up an old apartment above a building they own and remodeled it. She will have use of it free of charge while here. The administrators at our school cleaned it and managed to get donations for furnitur and the teachers help purchase supplies such as linens, dishes, tv, etc. I had donated several items, but just 2 days before her arrival there were still several little things that were needed, so I gave my card to the lady who was taking care of these things and she was very excited that she could go buy nearly everything left on the list. (We are talking basic supplies toilet paper, ironing board, etc)

I hope to meet the teacher in the next couple of weeks. She apparently arrived last Friday, but won't be coming to our school until later this week.