Drive-By Giving

Drive-By Giving
Teenager working on a Vacation Bible School craft in Central Asia

Galatians 4:8-20

When our church youth group became sick of hearing so many news stories about drive-by shootings, we left our usual Christmas traditions behind and decided to do “drive-by giving” instead.

We prepared Christmas gift bags containing warm gloves, rain ponchos, beef jerky, tangerines, thermal socks, hotel toiletries, Band-Aids, lip balm, and other helpful items for those living on the streets, topping each bag with a hand-knitted neck scarf.

We found homeless people down embankments and under bridges. At a nearby park, the youth enthusiastically gave gift bags to a number of weary men and women sheltering there. As we were walking away, a homeless man called out, "Wait, I want to pray with you!"

Suddenly we found ourselves in a big circle—the youth and the homeless all holding hands while a stranger named Peter prayed. We were astonished to hear him praying for US—his voice trembling, he asked God to give us safety and protection.

Our youth were surprised to find that these people living on the margins of our town offered us opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ in new ways.

Paul talks of the great care shown to him when he came to bring the gospel to the Galatians; in spite of his limitations and physical weakness, they accepted him as he was and treated him as if he were Christ himself coming to visit them. It’s easy to become sidetracked, as Christmas becomes an endless to-do list of chores to complete in time for the holiday. We are distracted from the courage and passion we once felt for being the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.

This scripture challenges us in regard to those around us who may be physically, mentally or situationally challenged, those whose “conditions put us to the test,” as Paul put it. Venturing out of our usual routine and comfort zone gives us the chance to see the coming of Christ this Christmas with new eyes.

Our Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we not be distracted by the empty promises of the world tugging at us this holiday season; open our hearts to new manifestations of Jesus!

Kat Teraji is Mission Coordinator for Spiritual Growth, California-Nevada Conference United Methodist Women.

Posted or updated: 12/19/2016 11:00:00 PM

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Mission Focus:

Laos: Lao Samphan Methodist Church of the Laos Mission Initiative: Providing women, children and youth preventative healthcare and education.

Testimony for Dec. 18-24:

I watch as many are blessed by their memories of times spent in our center as they visit two metal doors saved from the demolition of our former location more than three decades ago, and upon which the names of hundreds are etched and carved. -John G. Hatcher, Jr., executive director, Wesley Community Service Center, Portsmouth, Virginia.
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