Holiday "Pay It Forward" Hiring Drive w/ Express Employment

When the holiday season starts to peek out from the back pages of my calendar and Baby Jesus becomes the topic of most Sunday mornings, I think back to one play I attended at a local church as a kid. It was here that I was able to see exactly how Jesus first became the “reason for the season” by becoming Immanuel — God with us. I cried a bit on my mother’s shoulder during the crucifixion scene, but was pleasantly relieved by his resurrection. As the play ended in glorious live chorus and the house lights brought us back to reality, we made our way to the lobby where Jesus was stationed at the door to thank attendees like me. 

There he was, the Son of God, excitedly shaking hands in between ravenous bites of peanuts. At that moment, I sadly realized Jesus was just a hungry actor who missed dinner.

All these years later, I still have that voice in the back of my head, saying: “Is Jesus who He said He is? Is He the real deal?”

It’s tempting to Prime everything God-related on Amazon directly to my doorstep in order to download into my head and heart. However, God only seems to meet our search for proof in some real backwards ways — like jumping out of a perfectly good boat to walk on water. He might as well tell us to jump out of a plane. Many of us don’t jump because we secretly wonder, “What if the chute doesn’t open? What if He doesn’t come through? What if He’s just an actor after all?” 

In the upside down ways of God’s kingdom though, we miss something profound in this analogy: God isn’t the parachute. He’s the ground. He uses all things for good (Romans 8:28), creates new things out of nothing (Romans 4:17), and completely defies common sense.

It’s these attributes present in Gospel-living, that oppose the "me first" motivation attempting to rule your life. Likewise, VRM has adopted what is to some, a foolhardy mission. Serve the homeless? You're just enabling them. An academy for murderers and drug addicts? Their punishment should fit the crime. Fortunately for those needing a second chance, many of you in this community come alongside us in various ways.

For example, throughout the month of November, Express Employment Professionals is hosting their Holiday Hiring Drive: Pay It Forward. Their desire is to give the gift of employment, as well as simultaneously support VRM with a donation for every person hired this month. When businesses like Express use their resources and skill sets for the good of others, only good things will happen.

This holiday season, ask yourself: What do I have to give? Then…give it.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.