I was watching the news earlier this evening and was surprised to hear that there have been several incidents involving benefactors going to Walmart stores across the country and paying off the layaway balances for people who had items on payment plans.
John Sanders of Jamson Labs and Power Kleen Corporation, located in Oldsmar, FL teamed up with employees of his company ultimately paying off the balances for a huge number of families from Oldsmar who had items on payment plans at the local Walmart. Internet accounts put the total at $12,000 while the live news outlets have said that between Sanders and his employees, more than $55,000 was donated to assist those in need.
Apparently, Sanders’s wife was was shopping and overheard a woman trying to cancel her layaway purchases as her husband had been laid off and the family could no longer afford Christmas presents. The idea to assist was born to help those who couldn’t pay their own bills. Sanders and his wife, representing all the employees of their company, paid the open balances and left notes for each family wishing them a Merry Christmas.
Last year, on Dec. 7th, Greg Parody of Central Florida donated more than $21,000 to pay off the accounts of people at another local Walmart store and near Dallas, TX, a Layaway Santa paid off all the layaway accounts at another Walmart – totaling more than $2000. This generosity has become something of a trend rather than an anomaly, but it is certainly good to see people have a spirit of kindness and hospitality regarding those less fortunate in the community.
It seems that benefactors are reaching out and enjoying the instant gratification of seeing their money doing great things in the communities where they live. And that means that children and troubled families are able to enjoy the holidays through others who have paid the price for them.
Of course, unless you are very new to my posts, you know where I am headed this evening. God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the prices for all of us. He paid it all – and that was much more of a gift than even those people at Walmart received. I even think that Jesus, in His own divine way, enjoyed the result of the sacrifice that He made on behalf of all mankind. Certainly, he provided the way for each of each to live eternally with the Father. Now its up to us to accept or deny the gift that we have been offered, but I don’t know why anyone would want to give up the most incredible gift they could ever receive.
And if you think of it on a smaller scale, I haven’t heard of anyone in Florida or Texas refusing their fully paid off layaway accounts and demanding that they be charged the balance of what they owed for items on hold. In fact, people have broken into tears and have taken as much as 45 minutes to be able to gather themselves enough to even leave the store. About the only words that they can manage are, “thank you…” over and over again. Yet I don’t think that many, if any, of us continue to thank God for the sacrifice of His Son and how this has been the greatest gift that any of us could ever possibly receive.
The verse for this evening is from the apostle Peter. He wrote two books of the New Testament and his first epistle is on the subject of suffering. Appropriately, he writes, in 1 Pet. 3:18, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit…” In other words, He lives eternal with God and died, in the flesh, for the sins of all mankind.
My encouragement this evening is that if you haven’t accepted Christ’s offer of eternal life, it’s still out there for you anytime you decide to pick it up. And for those of you who have already accepted the gift, my prayer is that you will let people know how grateful you are and from time to time, you will stop, glance heavenward, and let God now how thankful you are. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…