Thursday, February 11, 2010

Generosity, Jeans, and Jesus

I am continually awed at the needs that come to our church’s Helping Hand Ministry and the continued ability to meet those needs. A week does not go by that some amazing story is not shared with me.

Recently, I was told the story about a gentleman who came to the Helping Hand building because his house had just burned down in Fort Smith. He had lost everything, literally. Clothes, furniture, food, everything. He has friends and family just over the border in Pocola so that is where he was trying to establish a new residency for his family. He ended up at our Helping Hand building because he had been to ALL the other benevolence and relief organizations and been turned away. Apparently because he had crossed state lines to establish his new home, the Arkansas relief organizations were prohibited from helping him. Just another great example of government at work (don’t get me started). He came to us looking for food. That’s what our Helping Hand Ministry is most known for in town. We assist over 200 individual families per month with food. BUT we also have a top of the line clothes closet. So while this man was looking for food when he stopped by, we were able to outfit him and his whole family with new clothes. BUT we also have a warehouse with donated furniture in it. After he got some food for his pantry and some clothes for his family, we were able to set him up with a compete set of furniture for his house. And this is where it gets really good. This gentleman was completely blown away and overcome with gratitude. He didn’t have to stand in lines, fill out a host of forms, and work his way through miles of red-tape. He had a need and we had the resources…need met.

This is how God works.

I see it all the time, and on this day this gentleman saw it too. As this man’s eyes filled with tears of joy, he wanted to know exactly how we could do this. And here’s the best part. The volunteer helping him shared the message that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This man eagerly accepted Christ.

Food, clothes, furniture, and Jesus. What more could a man need or want?

All in a day’s work for the Helping Hand Ministry.

But here’s the key. The Helping Hand Ministry only works because of generosity. The generosity of the membership of our church. The generosity of businesses in the region who donate supplies. It’s ALL about generosity. The kind of radical generosity modeled by Jesus Himself. Who gave it all and died penniless for you and me. Just think about how much money Jesus could have made as a “faith healer!” But NO, he GAVE it away.

What are you giving away?




RobertM said...

Pastor, I’m not sure I want to jump on your band wagon. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re hinting that my pat on the back and verbal encouragement to “Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled” isn’t enough. In fact you’re sounding a whole lot like one o’ them Second Chapter of James preachers. Isn’t that the guvamint’s job?

Melinda said...

I'd say it isn't enough until Jesus is introduced. We give not for the sake of generosity. Jesus in our lives is the giver. It's awesome that the receiver recognizes this.
May I say that the Grand Family that I'm not a member of in my opinion is truckin as far as reaching peeps. Way to go.

RobertM said...

My son was born 15 years ago. There was bad outcome at his birth, and I brought him home alone. I had to quit work to care for my newborn and raise my pre-pubescent daughter. None of my relatives live in this part of the country, and our very small church family wasn’t in a position to help much. There is also a shameful stigma attached to single fathers, and our societal support system seems to deliberately penalize them (maybe another time, another place I’ll share my findings on this). To hasten my inevitable impoverishment were medical bills shooting toward the $1 million mark.

Churches came to my rescue. Not just the churches that shared my doctrinal base, but the Catholics, the Nazarenes, the Presbyterians, and yes, even the Calvinists. We had more and better clothes than we’d had in a few years. Cash donations exceeded what the social support system would have paid if I had been a minority single mother. Our first Christmas after the tragedy was the most bountiful we’ve had to date. This was the time in my life when I realized that you don’t have to sit in my pew to do God’s work.

God’s work is preaching the Gospel. His work also includes feeding and clothing the needy, with or without the preaching. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35 (KJV)

Jeff Crawford said...

Powerful testimony. There is one Church that functions as many churches. Your story highlights this clearly.

The GREAT Commandment, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself."

Thank you for sharing.