Does the Wrapping make the Gift?


By Sean Garner

Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable.  – Matthew 13:34

If you’re connected in anyway to the work of World Vision, you know the reality of Christmas around the world. Hundreds of thousands are at a loss, with no housing, no food, and missing the basics that we take for granted. The facts are humbling, depressing and often overwhelming.

But knowing facts isn’t the same as changing hearts.

As your ministry heads towards the holidays, how can you wrap your community’s head around the idea that faith is meant to be proactive? A faith that is full MOVES people to react by fasting, serving and giving to change the world. Facts can give perspective to the situation, but they doesn’t cause the basic change in someone’s heart.

Guilt doesn’t do it either. With too much guilt, you simply end up making your crowd resent the very people they’re supposed to be serving.

What is it in us that makes us clamor and fight for a perfect Christmas tree? How do we know that a Christmas present is wrapped JUST right (a red box with a white bow perhaps) or just plain wrong (wrapped in a newspaper with a frayed brown string)?

God built us to be inspiration-based…we feed off of ideas and images, not just facts.

So, as you walk through the Christmas pandemonium, how do you best inspire your group to fully commit to changing the world in partnership with the 30 Hour Famine? Are you the type to challenge them to reach a goal? Or do you connect with their emotions?

Wise men traveled over the world to see it change and offered their best at the feet of Jesus. Shepherds had their lives interrupted in one dramatic night, when God proclaimed a different type of world with peace and goodwill. Mary and Joseph lived the lives of refugees, traveling in a foreign land and living off the graciousness of strangers. Jesus himself was born and lived in poverty.

What images work for your community and how can you repeat them over and over again to build momentum toward a true commitment to join you at the Famine in 2015? This year’s theme is full of images: David vs Goliath, fighting for what’s right, making their fight YOUR fight, etc.  Which of those images works best for your community?

Take time this month to dream again, like God does (with lives and images and parables) and in doing so pass those dreams along to those whom you serve: inspiring others to follow their faith to action, not just the facts of poverty and the poor.