It has been four weeks since the close of A Christmas Carol. At our cast party on the 17th we gave the donation to The Allentown Rescue Mission and announced our new total: over 17,600. That's a record for us. Jim Burns, the CEO of the Mission, cried and so did I.
As I ran into people over the holiday season many of them asked me 'How did the show go?' and 'How much did you raise?'. I've had the joy of being able to tell them how much God has raised through us. This year means more to me than in years past. As I've wondered why, I have found myself often thinking about how our little theatre doesn't deserve the privilege of accomplishing so much.
For our tenth anniversary we performed A Christmas Carol. That was the first year that we raised our fundraising goal from $5,000 to $10,000. Many of our parents, staff, and students were skeptical that we'd make it, but I was sure we were. Not because I have such spectacular faith-in many areas I struggle with great doubt-but for some reason, in this area God had given me a bold confidence, that I confess sometimes may flirt with presumption, that we were going to reach our goal. Not because of us, because of Him, because all the money in the world belongs to Him and He can do whatever He wants with it.
(This is also why I am so insistent about pursuing a building. I know He is able to give it to us if it is His will. This is why we are working towards a building.)
When we started performing two weekends for our Christmas show we raised the goal to $15,000. A part of me wanted me to raise it to $20,000, but that seemed unlikely (my bold confidence has limits), so we stuck with $15,000. And we made it.
Since my term as Artistic Director we have come short of our goal twice. Neither time upset me. I knew that God is control and that whatever money we raised would be a blessing to the charities we sponsor. My confidence about reaching our goals keeps me calm, and almost apathetic, as we count up the generous donations of our patrons. I am rarely surprised by the amount we raise. This year was the same, except this year I realized we don't deserve this.
Who am I, and who are my staff, my actors, and my parents that God uses us to raise so much money. Why does He give us the privilege? I don't know. It isn't because we are "good", because we are all of us desperate sinners in need of redemption. It isn't because we are "amazing". And it certainly isn't because we are the best run, organized, trained, and directed theatre, because we are small and still learning.
I don't know why God has so blessed us with raising over $140,000 dollars, all of which has gone to help refresh the homeless, restore victims of sex-trafficking, and rescue women struggling in crisis pregnancies. But I do know it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him.
This is why our strike crew always sings the doxology together after the total is announced. It is our adoring acknowledgement that everything we do-from the directing, to the acting, to the tech and stage crew, to the money we raise- is done by, through, and for Him.