Perhaps you heard about the remarkable event that happened December 3-5 at the Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota. According to Darla Anderson, the cashier on duty on December 3, a customer drove up to the drive-thru window and said, "I'd also like to pay for the car behind me. Whatever they've ordered, I'll cover it." That is a nice gesture and apparently it happens more often than I realized, routinely leading to a chain of 15 or 20 drivers who "pay it forward." But something special happened in Brainerd - word got out. Over the next two and a half days, more than 900 drivers offered to pay for the car behind them. Some paid the exact price of the next ticket. Others paid hundreds of dollars more to build a surplus that ensured the chain would not be broken. That Dairy Queen sold more than $10,000 worth of food before someone drove up who was unable or unwilling (I like to think unable) to keep the chain going. And then it was over.
The event made national news. If you google "Dairy Queen 900 cars pay it forward," you'll find stories from all the major national newspapers and television networks. There is apparently a universal wonder when people choose to be generous.
Maybe we should tell the media about Christian discipleship. Every year in every church, people give generously because they have received a gift and have been changed forever. Literally forever. Jesus came at Christmas and gave a gift at Easter that gives us abundant and eternal life. As part of our faithfulness to Him, we are called to give back - not because God needs money, but because we need to learn (and re-learn) that it is God and not our stuff that provides for us.
Our gifts fund more than just the car behind us - when you give to the church you provide for worship and discipleship on campus, you feed, clothe, and shelter homeless persons in our community, you meet needs in moments of crisis and after disasters, you send missionaries around the world, you train young ministers, you help other churches in their need. The list goes on and on.
I said yesterday we would need to give a little more than $120,000 per day for our gifts to equal our spending in 2020. You gave almost twice that yesterday. And, I hope our remaining need ($122,618) turns out to be the floor rather than the ceiling of our giving.
You may not be able to give this year, and if that is so, that is all right. Join us in marveling at what God is doing through all of us. You may be planning to give today or tomorrow - be sure your check is postmarked by December 31 if you want credit in tax year 2020. **If you are going to give online, please do so through our website
In any case, I hope you join Missy and me in giving in gratitude and with wonder at the generosity of God's people.
grace and truth,