Ringing The Bell

I did something last week I’ve never done before. I was a bell ringer for two hours in front of a local grocery store. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was an interesting experience.

The Scriptures teach us to do all we can to care for others (it’s the second greatest commandment!).  Matthew 25 has a passage that takes place at the judgment day where Jesus is depicted as asking those being judged if they had clothed him, fed him, visited him. He declares that if we do these things for the “least”, we are doing the service for Him. James, the Lord’s brother, says that pure religion is to care for the widows and orphans.

Those are a few reasons why I chose to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. I rang the bell for a few hours. I saw kids with a handful of coins put them in one by one by one by one! I saw many people look away and walk far around me. I saw one lady who said, “I already gave“. Tender conscience. One fellow thought I should put a little more heart into my bell ringing and maybe more people would give. There’s always a critic! And one rugged looking fellow who said, “They never did a damn thing for me when I was needy” … while he put coins in the bucket. Conflicted, I guess.

But that last guy did remind me of something.  The Salvation Army DID help me when I was needy. It was in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Our house, like so many, had been flooded and everything had to be replaced. Every wall. Every bit of flooring. So much more. Before electricity was restored we would be in that hot humid house trying to sort through the wet and waterlogged possessions we had left. We would hear a horn and go out to receive a hot lunch from the Salvation Army. It was delicious, warm, and timely.

So while I was ringing the bell on behalf of others, I remembered that I had been a recipient as well. They didn’t ask me about my religion. They just provided sustenance and went on their way. I was already glad to help by ringing the bell. Now I am beyond glad. And I get to do it again next Friday night. Looking forward to it!

~John