Giveaways and the red cross
Remember how jarring it was—how unnerving—to hear a robotic, automated voice in your home for the first time? I know you heard it at home because this modern marvel invention predates cell phones.
“Oh, great,” some of us must have thought. “Now we have machines that talk like humans—sort of.”
Well, this was no simulated voice leaving me a voicemail message last week. It was a real person with a real perk in her voice. It had to have been prerecorded, but still, a real person called.
I transcribed the call. Hear this message as it was sent, and that’s with bounce.
Hi! This is Bethany with the American Red Cross. Right now, the American Red Cross has a critical need for donors like you. Get game day ready with The Red Cross. Come to give blood from September 13th through 30th for a limited-edition college football tee shirt while supplies last.
Plus, you’ll score big with a coupon via email for a free haircut from Sports Club Hair Cuts when you come in by the end of September.
Schedule your appointment today by calling 1-800-Red-Cross, visiting us online at redcrossblood.org, or schedule using the Blood Donor App.
Thanks! We look forward to seeing you again soon.
We all know volunteerism is incredibly low since the days of cell phones became the norm. Local firefighters and EMTs are struggling. This should alarm us all—no pun. Seriously. A dozen years ago, I called 9-1-1 for a family member with an immediate medical need on a Sunday morning. Within 8-minutes a fully staffed ambulance pulled in the driveway. That ambulance had been parked in its bay through the night, and it is a 5-minute drive from the fire station to the house.
From time to time, I hear about another local volunteer ambulance crew. They are taking less calls now NOT because there actually are less people calling for medical help. Yes. You guessed it. They are not responding to the same number of calls they’d been doing a couple of years ago because there is a lack of volunteers.
Nonprofit organizations everywhere are experiencing personnel shortages. This includes the church.
Covid didn’t help.
Before the virus was ever known, a member at my weekly planning meeting brought to the table the news about a congregation an hour from ours. The idea of handing out football jerseys and haircuts isn’t new. This congregation was actually giving away door prizes for those who came to church. I don’t know if this promotion was successful, but agree with me that it’s certainly sad that giveaways are becoming the norm.
To be clear, I am not slighting or slamming this congregation’s idea. I am just so crestfallen that our consumer-driven, “What’s-in-it-for-me?” age is alive and well.
This brings me to Bethany’s call from the American Red Cross. We are now a society where being lured by gifts IF we volunteer is the norm. This is crushing. This is dehumanizing. This is also unchristian.
The willingness to help a do-good organization is at a staggering low. My heart breaks at this.
Your heart should break, too.
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) stopped to help the victimized soul along the road not for his own gain or his own glory. He just did it. His faith—that very urging from his heart—called him action, not passivity.
Do we need these reminders?
Do we Christians need to live by these reminders?
A renowned group such as the American Red Cross has to beg for blood AND offer giveaways?
This brings me to THE red cross. The cross on Calvary was red because of Jesus’ blood shed on it. The only one on earth who was sinless died that horrible death for our sins on earth. His death set us free to do what? Sit?
Some of you are reading this before or after you’ve volunteered during an already pressing day. Sincere kudos to you for doing what you do.
Others of us know this serves as a wake up for an inactive presence and practice of faith.
We can’t sit back. We can’t just watch. We must do.
Someone beside Bethany is calling. Hear Him.
And then respond.