A recent Wednesday evening, I had the honor of attending the graduation of "Mike" as he completed the six-month alcohol / drug recovery program at the Salvation Army in Fayetteville.
Mike's graduation was to celebrate and acknowledge his recovery (always work in progress) of substance abuse and his new direction in life of putting Jesus Christ front and center of every decision.
Much to my surprise a major donor to the Salvation Army was planning to visit Mike's graduation and the worship service.
If I had known a major donor was in the audience on this Wednesday evening, I would have been more nervous than normal as I made a brief speech acknowledging Mike's accomplishment. During my speech of sorts, I presented Mike with a 'faith coin' acknowledging his achievement in the recovery program and his 100% attendance in a Sunday evening class I teach at the Salvation Army.
Following the thirty minutes or so spent honoring Mike's accomplishment related to successfully completing the six month "work/faith" based recovery program, Sergeant-Major Cotton Presley delivered another outstanding message from the Bible.
Back to the major donor part of this story...little did I know an individual sitting right in front of me was planning to make a major donation to the outstanding work being done in Fayetteville by the Salvation Army.
As Cotton Presley made his closing remarks related the Bible message this evening, the young lady sitting in front of me stands up, turns around, looks directly in my eyes, smiles and hands me a "contribution envelope" and walks out of the chapel.
Ok...now I'm sitting there holding a "contribution envelope with cash"...a little uncomfortable situation.
Although I do serve on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and am involved in various ways with the Salvation Army, holding a "cash envelope" was a little uncomfortable.
During the closing prayer, I must confess my thoughts were how do I deal with this "cash envelope" once the prayer ended? Also, I was somewhat curious related to the amount money in the envelope.
I have learned during my involvement with the Salvation Army, the unexpected happens on a pretty regular basis and tonight clearly is one of those "unexpected events."
As soon as the closing prayer ended, I looked for Capt. Josh Robinett. The plan I had devised during the closing prayer was to find the captain and give him the "cash" envelope.
As Capt. Josh Robinett opened the envelope, we both saw what amounted to an extremely large contribution to the Salvation Army.
The contribution was $1.00. The mystery donor is homeless.
She gave all she had.
The longer I live, the more I experience life, the more I move toward understanding; it's not how much we have or don't have; what matters is our attitude toward either scenario.
I'm reminded of the parable Jesus taught related to the widow giving all she had.
Mark 12:42-44 (NIV)
42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."
Larger amounts have been given but few contributions amounted to so much.
Dennis Hixson is a longtime resident of Northwest Arkansas. He and his wife, Missy, are members of Prairie Grove Christian Church in Prairie Grove, AR, where Dennis teaches an adult Bible class. Dennis serves as Chairman on The Salvation Army Advisory Board in Fayetteville and teaches a Bible class for men in alcohol and drug dependence recovery.