Summary: You see them every year at Christmas time. Someone who stands at the entrance of a Wal-Mart or in a Mall ringing a bell and standing like a soldier beside a big red pot and most never saying anything other than “Merry Christmas”.
Why are some folks annoyed at the sound of a bell dinging in their ear and some are not?
John 6:32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
You see them every year at Christmas time. Someone who stands at the entrance of a Wal-Mart or in a Mall ringing a bell and standing like a soldier beside a big red pot and most never saying anything other than “Merry Christmas”. You recognize them by a sign or sticker that says “Salvation Army.”
I had the pleasure of being one of those bell ringers Thursday afternoon for one hour at Mayberry Mall at the entrance of K-Mart. It was a volunteer service of the Mt Airy Ministerial Association for which I’m a member. Never thought much about the history of the Salvation Army until wondering just how many millions of others down through the years rung that bell before us and the power that sound has.
The Salvation Army began in 1865 when William Booth, a London minister, gave up the comfort of his pulpit and decided to take his message into the streets where it would reach the poor, the homeless, the hungry and the destitute. His original aim was to send converts to established churches of the day, but soon he realized that the poor did not feel comfortable or welcome in the pews of most of the churches and chapels of Victorian England. Regular churchgoers were appalled when these shabbily dressed, unwashed people came to join them in worship. Booth decided to found a church especially for them - the East London Christian Mission. The mission grew slowly, but Booth's faith in God remained undiminished.
Not much changed over the years as far as most people turning up their noses to the poor and homeless folks with no more in life other than wondering where their next meal was coming from.
But God plants in the hearts of some not to bypass those who at hungry and need help just as He planted a seed in the heart of William Booth back in 1865 and look at how that seed continued to grow.
I believe that God blessed the Salvation Army because of the generous and caring heart of William Booth.
Not only does the Salvation Army feed millions of the homeless and hungry each year but, also plants the seed of salvation to many.
There is one thing I learnt by ringing that little bell for an hour. That’s where the power is...the power is in the sound of that bell. I believe that God blessed the sound of that bell to remind us to share our blessings with the less fortunate. It also means Salvation....in a way God can only do that little bell cuts the heart of the lost and reminds them that Jesus can give them the bread of life. But, some don’t want to hear it and continue to block Him out. How about you? Are you annoyed at the sound of that little bell or does it remind you to share your blessings with others?
Love in Christ Jesus, Ronnie Miller www.themillersbiblestudy.com