The Generous Giver

                                                                                           

 

I was in the car returning home from vacation when I got a phone call from my good friend, Karalee. She is one of the devoted workers that helps provide lunches in the summer to the children of our community. Wanting to fill me in on the details of the previous week I had missed, she was anxious to share an amazing incident.

It was a typical Wednesday at the church as people assembled in the kitchen and fellowship hall making and packing up lunches. Karalee was in charge on this summer morning and was hard at work organizing the troops when her sister pulled her aside. Becky told her a man had wandered into the church and was asking if they could feed him. He said he had been out of work for some time, had no money or food and was hungry. Sadly, he had been to three different churches and no one would help him.

Karalee stopped what she was doing and went to talk to him. Without pause, she made him a sandwich, then packed a large bag with the groceries we had on hand in our church’s small pantry. The grateful gentleman began to cry telling her he would begin coming to our church. He was true to his word and I had the pleasure of meeting him the very next Sunday.

What makes this story so amazing is not the generosity of one woman or one church, but what had happened one hour prior. Before setting up for the summer lunch program that day, Karalee and some of our other church leaders had been in prayer together. They had been specifically asking God to send different groups of people to our church. Having a heart for the poor, Karalee had asked to pray that God would send the poor in our community to our church. God took them seriously.

Isn’t it amazing that when we come to God with open, willing hearts that He will provide us with the things for which we have asked? What a privilege and honor it is to know that when we are sincere in our desires to help others that God trusts us with opportunities to do just that! He trusts us not to try to do everything on our own, but to allow Him to work through us. And when we ask, He generously provides. Ultimately, it is only in His loving provision for us that we may pour that love into somebody else’s life.

Thank-you, Holy Father, for your generosity to me! Help me not to hold tightly to the things you have graciously given me, but to be quick to pass on those blessings to others. Be glorified in the giving, LORD, for truly You are the Generous Giver. 

The Bothersome Blessings

I braved the snowy less-than-desirable driving conditions out to my rural school only to find out that classes had been cancelled for the day. At first I was annoyed that I had somehow been omitted from the staff list that receives automated school closing text alerts. However, after some consideration I realized that it was only a minor inconvenience and had I not spent the hour driving back and forth here are the things I would have missed:

1. Opportunity to help another. As I made my way home I spotted two fur-clad little girls on the corner waiting for the school bus. I rolled down my window to relay the news. “School’s cancelled for the day, girls, because of the snow!” They smiled and waved and called out a thank-you before turning to walk away. At least I’d saved them from a few more frozen moments on the curb.

2. Views of the extraordinary white-washed scenery in all of its snowy splendor. The brown earth and bare trees had become things of beauty when they were blanketed in snow. The images reminded me of how Jesus covers me with His love and grace. That even though I am stained and dead in my sin I become pure and white through the blood of the Lamb.

3. Time spent in prayer for the parent of one of my students. My drive time is always a great opportunity for conversation with the Father. This morning I had asked Him to give special attention to one of the moms in my room. Her child had recently come to church at my invitation. She wanted to know if she could send his sisters on the van that had come to pick him up on Sunday. I assured her they could and then went on to invite her to come, too. She had looked away quickly without an answer, but not before I had seen her expression. It was one that had said, “I’m not worthy. You don’t know what I have done.” My heart went out to her and I wanted to say, “He loves you anyway.” So this morning I lifted her up to the throne and asked God to whisper His gentle love to her heart.

Suddenly, the trip that had seemed to be a bother, had become a blessing. Simply by changing the lens in which I viewed the situation made all the difference. Thank-you, Lord, for loving me so much that You continue call to me in all the bothersome, blessed places of my life.