In the opening of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is the classic miser….not even a spark of generosity existed in the heart of this selfish man.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge received a visit from two “portly gentlemen” seeking a charitable contribution for the poor, he was not inspired to give. Then a visit from Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former partner, the miser’s heart began to soften.
By the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge became a man of exceeding and joyful generosity. Nothing reveals his change of heart more than his interaction with the two portly gentlemen on Christmas morning. Seeing them in the streets, he grabbed their hands and wished them Merry Christmas. Then, he whispered into the ear of one of the gentlemen what he intended to contribute to their mission for the poor.
“Lord bless me!” cried the gentleman, as if his breath were taken away. “My dear Mr. Scrooge, are you serious?”
“If you please,” said Scrooge. “Not a farthing less. A great many back-payments are included in it, I assure you.”
Today Christmas is a time for generosity. Some are caught up in the gift-giving spirit of the season. Others make charitable gifts to lessen their tax burden. Still others are moved to drop spare change into the Salvation Army red kettles.
“And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
For Christians, generosity is surely one excellent way to celebrate the birth of Christ. We give, not simply because of seasonal emotion, but because God has given so richly to us in Jesus Christ. Moreover, as 2 Corinthians 9:8 makes clear, we are generous because God has so generously blessed us “with every blessing in abundance.”
We pass on to others that which God has lavished upon us. We hear as if spoken to us the instructions Jesus once gave to his first disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8, NIV).
Of course, our generous response to God’s generosity is not limited to the Christmas season. Thus, we have the opportunity and responsibility to give each day what God has lavished upon us. We keep Christmas well through living generously throughout the year.
Shoulder To Shoulder (STS) has evolved over time following the vision from God upon its founding, on December 5th, 1995. For the first seven years significant effort centered on strengthening men and their role in their family and their relationship with God. Around 25,000 men in the greater Sacramento region were greatly impacted by STS’s Point Man Monthly Breakfast Series.
Below are the men who helped launch the Breakfast Series for seven years…
In 2003, STS implemented a small group model for men that resulted in transforming their lives into the men God desires. This model also greatly assisted men in understanding the disciplines necessary to develop and maintain an intimate relationship with God.
In 2007, STS began its community phase of outreach to meet the needs of fatherless young boys in the Sacramento region’s inner city areas. In cooperation with Twin Rivers USD officials, STS began to provide onsite, life-transforming support efforts for 350 boys and their families over the ensuing years. Today STS is expanding its capabilities to meet the huge demand for its unique, long-term, one-on-one mentoring program that also includes care for the moms of our mentees.
It is a fact that, in the Sacramento region, there are around 200,000 children who go to bed each night without a father in their lives. This staggering number shows the magnitude of the problem and STS has realized that it is going to take a broad-based united effort to meet the needs.
As a result, STS is in the process of creating The Fathering Coalition, a multi-level coalition of churches and other supporting organizations, to help achieve the goal of ending fatherlessness in our area. The core of the Coalition will consist of area churches who serve as a pool of potential mentors for our young boys and potential coaches for our care for the moms.
We at STS are very excited about what The Fathering Coalition can do and we hope you will support this effort by doing the following:
We are looking forward to see what 2016 will bring and, with your help, it can be an amazing year.