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Life lines “Easy Street”

By Ian Robinson, Major

Development professionals throughout the Western Territory know how difficult it is to raise funds in these challenging times. It can take years of careful cultivation to get a donor to that mysterious point they call “the ask.” Even then the donor might say “No” or give less than expected. It’s a tough business.

A few weeks ago I called a number given to me by one of our officers, Captain Timothy Hsu, San Gabriel, Calif., corps officer. The lady on the other end of the line said the CEO of her company, M.C. Gill Corporation, wanted to make a donation to The Salvation Army. On his instruction she had called the nearest corps, which passed the number to me. We talked briefly about the Youth Learning Center at the San Gabriel Corps, and she said she’d call back after speaking to her boss.

The very next day she called me to say Mr. Gill wanted to make a $25,000 donation to the corps. As I hung up the phone I saw a couple of our major gift officers standing around and just had to tell them how easy their job was. A few days later I drove to El Monte with Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Doug Riley to pick up the check. To my great surprise and amusement the company was located on Easy Street!

It is ironic that when Captain Hsu gave me M.C. Gill’s phone number he was at Divisional Headquarters to discuss his $25,000 deficit and the possibility of closing the San Gabriel Youth Learning Center!

I know it’s not always that easy. My mother used to tell me, “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!” Yet today so many people want to live on Easy Street where you don’t have to work hard, and the money miraculously rolls in. Two characters in the musical “Annie,” Rooster and Miss Hannigan, sing about their sainted mother who told them how to get to Easy Street. “You don’t get there by playing from the rule book. You stack the aces, you load the dice.” How sad it is to watch those who can least afford it throw their money away as they pin their hopes on a lottery ticket or a slot machine. They are more likely to end up on Skid Row than Easy Street.

God never promises us that we will live on Easy Street when we follow him. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Christians are not immune to trials and tribulations. In fact, God’s Word frequently reminds us that this is how God shapes and molds us into his likeness.

There actually is an Easy Street in the Bible, and it’s not hard to find. Despite life’s troubles and struggles, regardless of our personal difficulties and problems, Jesus gives us a wonderful promise in Matthew 11:29-30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

That’s the Easy Street where I want to live, don’t you?

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