What Does The Heart Have To Do With Giving?
The ministry is called Jackets for Jesus, and it’s a very practical one. Every Sunday night Pastor Eric Denton takes a team of people more than 50 miles from Riverside, California to the streets of Los Angeles to feed the street people a hot meal and share the love of Jesus with them—people for whom this may be the only gift of love they ever receive. Oh, and yes, if they’re cold, they get a good, previously-owned jacket as well.
I so admire Pastor Eric for doing this after a busy Sunday at his church. But as a result of his willingness to go, he has a treasury of unforgettable experiences.
One Sunday Pastor Eric invited everyone in the food line to bring a well-deserved birthday card the next Sunday for Jodi, the woman who for over a decade had been in charge of preparing the meals they serve each week. Jodi told Pastor Eric that one woman stopped to tell her she wouldn’t be able to be with Jodi for her birthday. But reaching into her personal belongings, the homeless woman pulled out three dirty, crumpled one-dollar bills and pushed them into Jodi’s protesting hands—the end of all she had, a gift from the heart.
Looking at the grimy bills, Pastor Eric thought, “I wonder how many people ever received the gift of a person’s entire fortune? A meal and time together with a friend made her not hesitate to give all she had in thanksgiving.”
The Bible cautions, “…the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). But Pastor Eric says, “God can make all things good. Last week he turned $3 into a priceless birthday gift, never to be forgotten.”
We each have the opportunity to give. Do it out of a heart of thanksgiving!
 Pastor Eric Denton, from Jackets for Jesus Update e-newsletter 8-13-07: Jackets for Jesus, 5623 Arlington Ave., Riverside, CA, 92504.