The men from J. Alvin Brown Residence Hall bought a goat last month.
The goat, one of four gifts sent overseas through Heifer International, was just one of the ways that JBU students responded to JBU President Chip Pollard’s creative object lesson at a recent chapel.
Pollard gave 493 students a total of $1,346 to give away. The JBU cathedral buzzed during the morning chapel service with the rustling of paper and murmur of voices as the students discovered the money inside the envelopes they had been given.
“You each got different amounts ranging from $1 to $100,” JBU President Chip Pollard told them. “This money is symbolic. It represents God’s generous investment in your life, and we are inviting you to take this monetary gift and be generous with it, invest in other people’s lives.”
Moments before, University Chaplain Rod Reed had spoken to the students about God’s generosity and challenged them to think about the power and value of giving.
“Often, students feel they can’t give because they are tight on money or they feel like the amount they have won’t make any difference,” said Reed. “Our desire was to help students have a tangible way of responding to God’s generosity to them by providing an opportunity to be agents of God’s generosity to the world.
The students left the chapel service, money in hand, with instructions for their Thanksgiving break: be perceptive to the needs around them and be creative with the way they meet the need with the money they were given. The students were encouraged to report back on what they did.
The creative object lesson for JBU students provoked acts of kindness, generosity and aid in communities around the world.
Some students simply bought coffee for a friend stressed with school projects or left a few extra dollars as a tip the next time they went out. Others pooled their single dollars to purchase a Bible for someone overseas or to give to an international aid organization. Another student bought hot drinks for Salvation Army red kettle volunteers ringing bells for donations outside various stores, thanking them for their community service. Still others combined their dollars to buy donuts for the local police force and wrote them thank you notes for their work in the community.
One student who was given $5 said, “On my way home for Thanksgiving break I decided to use my money to pay for the people who were lined up behind me at the toll booth. I really appreciate the opportunity to give. It was a gift to me!”
“We believe that when we are giving, be it our time or money, we are closely reflecting the character of God,” Pollard said. “We are proud of how our students responded to the challenge to be generous.”