Jake Heppner, Southbrook Baptist Church
I've appreciated the publicity given this year to the Empty Stocking Fund and the Salvation Army; it reflects well on our community that so many venues have allowed their premises to be used for charitable fundraising.
Proverbs 29:7 reflects, "The righteous considers the cause of the poor, but the wicked does not understand such knowledge." One quality of the righteous is the thoughtfulness and consideration toward the need of others, and the will to sacrifice something of your own in order to share with one in need. This trait isn't understood by the self-centered: giving seems like a foreign concept to them in a dog-eat-dog world, but it's so refreshing to see the attention to generosity by so many in our community! It was encouraging to read the WPJ article about the high school students who collected 270 toys for the underprivileged because it shows so much hope for the future as students are showing their attention to the needy, and reveals today's generous spirit of our community through all those who gave. I was shocked at how many young people gave to the red Salvation Army buckets as my family took their turn ringing the bell - almost every single young person make a trip over to the bucket to share their hard-earned money, and they were smiling as they donated! We left our shift with a new inspiration and energy after seeing such a high percentage of our community who made contributions for less fortunate people.
Proverbs 14:31 goes on to teach, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Two weeks ago, dozens of our neighbors gathered at the Empty Stocking Talent Show and tuned in via radio to show kindness to the needy. Some performed, some gave, but all were united in their compassion to serve the needy - and over $13,000 was raised! What a legacy of 87 years that has been established in our community.
Let the actions of so many others continue to stimulate our community to finish the year strong, operating with an eye to the principle described in Proverbs 22:9, "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."