He calls it The Ten Dollar Challenge — a way to spread joy one $10-bill at a time.
This Christmas season, my friend, Billy Coffey, invited us to carry around $10 and look for an opportunity. What hope might we bring bring to the hopeless? What joy might we bring in this season that — for some — is so full of despair? He asked if we might do it this way:
Ten + ten + ten + ten …
So I stuck a ten-dollar bill in my pocket and carried it around all weekend long, looking for an opportunity. And that money burned red-hot in my pocket.
I considered the elderly woman in Aisle Five at the grocery store. I considered the mother walking into the thrift shop.
I considered the man in the booth next to ours at Taco John’s. He was downtrodden, talking with a friend about losing his road-construction job. I took the money out of my pocket, ready to hand it over to this man on whom I’d eavesdropped.
But I. Just. Couldn’t. Do It.
It just felt wrong. How would he react? Would he feel like a charity project, right there in a public place? Might his embarrassment outweigh my motives? I thought it might. And I know that’s not what Billy intended.
So I brought my ten dollars home. But that money burned still.
So I took this pair of gloves — these red-fleece gloves. And I held them in my hands. I thought about Red, and how the Best Gift Ever was wrapped in Crimson-Jesus love — sacrificial love. And my little gift? Such small sacrifice: $10.
But this is how we can spread His love. Ten + ten + ten + ten.
I slipped a ten-dollar bill inside an envelope, and wrote a little note to go with those red gloves:
Dear Friend, You don’t know me. Or maybe you do.
Either way, might you accept this small gift? When you slip on these red gloves, may they serve as a warm reminder that someone in this little community cares.
Throughout this Christmas season, I’ll keep a matching set of red gloves tacked to my bulletin board at home, and every time I see them, I will pray for you. And dear one, might you do the same for me this Christmas each time you pull these gloves over your hands? We could be secret Prayer Partners all season long, couldn’t we?
We don’t know each others’ names — and that’s OK. For we have a God who knows each of us by name. May you find Peace and Hope in that reassurance today.
Grace and Peace from someone who cares
PHOTO: Gloves on my bulletin board (a reminder to pray.)
In a while, I will take this small gift and drive it into town to the local food-pantry. The woman who works there knows another woman who needs $10 and some prayers.
Starting today, someone special in my own community will wear this Red Love. She can take that gift without having to look in the eye of the one who gave it.
And perhaps, when she looks at those gloves, she won’t see my act of giving — but she’ll see the Crimson-Jesus love that motivated it.
This post is part of the Ten Dollar Challenge, hosted by my friend Billy Coffey, a writer from Virginia whose first novel Snow Day will be published by FaithWords in 2010. If you’d like to participate, click on the green-gift button above.
The red-glove gift was inspired by Karen Kingsbury’s Red Gloves series of fiction books. Kingsbury’s series has motivated many readers into service projects called Red Glove Projects, aimed at bringing love to a hurting world. You can find inspiring ways to give Red Glove gifts here at Kingsbury’s site. (Email subscribers may click on the highlighted words within the text, or go here: http://www.karenkingsbury.com/books/redGlovesProjects/ )