"She extends her hands to the poor."

“The purpose of life is not to be happy —but to matter,
to be productive, to be useful,
to have it make some difference
that you have lived at all.”
~Leo Rosten

On Black Friday or the day after (I can’t remember), I was making a simple trip to my local Harris Teeter (which I do far too often). As I drove into the parking lot, I noticed an exceptionally cheerful Salvation Army “bell ringer.” She made me smile. Upon second glance, I realized this exuberant woman, adorned with a huge smile, was my dear friend, Ruth. Are you kidding me? I thought. Ruth? A bell ringer?

Where was Ruth when my children were little? Drop your change in the red bucket and her hat lights up and sings!

I ran over and gave her a big hug! “You are making my day,” I exclaimed. In the midst of all the Black Friday mania, her bright shining spirit served as the perfect antidote. Two days later, she was at it again! This time, though, I ran home to get my camera.

“Do you mind if I write a little blog about you, Ruth? You are an inspiration,” I asked. “I don’t want to steal your reward (Matthew 6:3-5).”

Ruth is a living, breathing, “I matter and want to make a difference in my world” example of Proverbs 31:20, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” Ruth has a very “active” life (I hate the word “busy”): a husband with a demanding job and two small children. But, somehow, somewhere, she found the time to step outside her comfort zone and reach out. This inspires me. To many, this may seem like a very small thing, but as Ruth put it, “If every person that walked by dropped a quarter in the red bucket, imagine the outcome.”

I know many of you are “extending your hands to the needy.” Would you PLEASE share (not to boast, but to encourage) with us your stories of helping during the holidays? Just as Ruth inspired me, your stories will inspire us to do great things. To matter. To make “some difference that we have lived at all.”

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Ephesians 2:10, NIV

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