The boxes were already piled high when I got to church yesterday morning, but I could tell from years of experience that there was just not 1,500 there.
I tried not to get discouraged. I prayed and prayed as we started to organize them into their cartons and count them that there would be more than 1,500. I know, I know, its not about a number. That is so true, but I hoped for 1,500 because if we got that far, I would know that people were really getting the message and understanding the power of that little box.
What's the message..... IT IS NOT JUST A BOX... It is joy, hope, and life for so many who have received them. Most of us would be sad if a shoebox full of Dollar Tree toys was our only gift this year, but to the boys and girls who receive them they mean the world... I know, I have seen them delivered. I have handed the boxes to children in leper colonies, in mental hospitals, in children's ICUs, in impoverished churches, and in children's shelters all while in The Philippines... Trust me, it means the world to them!!!
As we neared the last box our total was 1,298. I knew that there just wasn't enough. Luckily, our youth group was busy packing their boxes in the gym. Bucky, the youth minister, told me earlier that he was hoping for 200. That was great... I hoped that could squeeze out 2 more. 202 was all we needed.
The packing team and I went over to the gym to help them finish. They completed 167. That was an awesome amount, and I was so proud of our youth. They did an amazing job!!!
While they were packing another member from church brought me some money to do some boxes for his Sunday School class. They meant to give it to me earlier but time had gotten away from them. There was enough money for 24 boxes....WOW! We were getting close!!! That was 1,489!
After we got all of those boxes packed, THANKS TO MY FRIEND GINGER, we only needed 11 more. The prayers got serious here... LORD, we only need 11!!!! Bring them in!!!!
As the 6 o'clock service was approaching, the Lord showed up... Last minute boxes started coming in and coming in. FINALLY, there was box number 1500... but it didn't stop there.... 1501, 1502, 1503........... Final tally as of last night... 1556!!!!!
But wait... there is more... This morning the church emailed me only to say that there were 32 more in the office... for a grand total of 1,588 boxes.
I am so excited right now as I type this. I am so happy for the 1,588 kids that will get a box because of what the Lord did in the hearts of the people at my church. I am already praying that He will move in their hearts even now to begin preparing for next year's collection.
Here is the challenge... If you did 1 this year, do 2 next year.... If you did 3 this year, do 5 next year.... If your Sunday School Class did 200 this year.... do 225 next year. Let's believe for big things and see what happens.