Photo Credit: Charlie O’Hay via Compfight cc
Yesterday in the parking lot of the grocery store, I met a woman. I had gone out of my way around a jam in the parking lot where otherwise I would not have walked past her. She was bundled up tightly against the wind, a hijab wrapped around her head. She was holding a sign that read “3 children. No work. No money. Please help. God bless.”
I looked down and away as I approached her, not sure but thinking she was selling something. As I passed in front of her I glanced up and caught sight of the sign. I was embarrassed for her, and myself, for who knows why other than my own silly pride. As my mind raced with options I knew that I had to help her. Forget whether she was telling the truth or not. This was an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this woman.
Just that morning our sermon had been about being a church on fire, our souls on fire for the Lord and what that truly means. We were woken to a glaring reality that as the church, we are to have everything in common, and the commands of God are this – 10% spiritual, 40% personal, and the remaining 50% dealing with relationships with others. God commands us to be good neighbours, to love others as we would be loved. And I KNEW in light of this and who I am as a believer, that this was an opportunity not to be missed.
I grabbed what I needed from inside the store and bought her a gift card for groceries. But I felt that just giving her the card wasn’t enough. I knew that God calls us to go above and beyond meeting the basic needs where we are able.
I approached her with the card and a smile, asking if she had a way to get around. She spoke little English, but understood that I was telling her to get on a bus, get to the nearby mall, and ask for “The Open Door”, the home base of a ministry which offers much aid (both physical and spiritual through bible studies and groups) to the community.
As we were about to part ways, she told me “God bless you and your family.” And I told her “No, God bless you!” I thought of myself in her shoes, how hopeless life would be looking. “And do not lose hope.” I choked back tears and reached to give her a hug, ashamed of my initial desire to ignore her, yet grateful for the opportunity to be used as an instrument of hope, even in my weakness.
Back in the car I was frustrated once again that I was not prepared with an open heart and something to easily and quickly give. We have cards for The Open Door at home, I wished I’d had them in the car with me! Having moved to the city in the past few months we have consistently seen homeless and helpless people, asking for help, multiple times a week. Help is so close, available through us and many local ministries and organizations. They need only to see that someone cares enough to give them a helping hand.
How can we be one step ahead and prepared to meet these needs head on and without hesitation?
- We can hold loosely what God has given to us and teach our children by example to put others first. Many times we’ve pulled up beside someone at the lights and the kids have begged me to give them something.
- We can be ready and willing to be generous with the abundance He has blessed us with.
- Be good stewards of our finances so we have the freedom to give.
- We can prepare care packets to have on hand in our vehicles to hand out when we stop or see someone walking by with their signs, begging for help, for someone to listen and offer hope.
- We can push off our judgement and critical spirits about their situations or authenticity, and be the hands and feet of Christ right in that moment.
- We can pray with them or for them, and for ourselves, that our hearts would be softened to be loving and ready to love.
Get in the habit of giving generously!
Check out #GivingTuesday – GivingTuesday is a global day of giving. After the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GivingTuesday is a time to celebrate and encourage activities that support charities and non profits. Whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, helping a neighbour or spreading the word, GivingTuesday is a movement for everyone who wants to give something back. (GivingTuesday.org)
This Sunday November 8 is Orphan Sunday. Find out how you can be involved!
On Orphan Sunday, Christians stand for the orphan. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress. Each event is locally-led. Sermons and small groups, concerts and prayer gatherings, shared meals and youth activities—each rousing believers with God’s call to care for the orphan, and what we can do in response. From many sources, one voice. Each November, thousands of events will echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God’s great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well. Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.
Be inspired and encouraged. Every time we give, a story begins. I Like Giving exists to inspire the world to live generously through stories.
Be challenged and watch your heart change through 30 Days of Heartwork.
“You’re spending yourself constantly… Your money, your time, and your energy. This 30 day interactive journey through Scripture will challenge you to spend yourself the way God calls us to as believers. Through true stories, honest questions, and daily empathy challenges, you will grow in compassion and in your knowledge of social justice issues. Most importantly, you will become more like our God, who spent Himself for us.”