Your Generosity Stories . . .
When we started our series on Generosity Pastor Steer asked people to send in stories about your experiences with generosity. Here are some of the stories we've received.
Read them and be blessed by God's goodness . . .
Giving Isn't Always Safe . . .
When I was ten or twelve years old my father asked our family to stay at the table so he could discuss something with us. At this time our family was large and we did not have enough to eat.
Dad told us about an African American family whose house had burned down. He said that no one was helping them. He suggested that we talk with the siblings with whom we slept to decide if we could do with one less blanket. If so we should leave it outside our bedroom door. He would then pick them up and give them to the family. My sister and I decided if we lay closer together we could do with one less. That we did.
Two evenings later around dinnertime we looked out our front windows and a cross was burning in front of them - a signal from the KKK. My father was very concerned because he felt he might have jeopardized the safety of us children. But my mother put her arm around our Dad's shoulder and said, "You did the right thing Dad."
I learned two things from this. Everybody can give something even if it is sharing instead of money. Secondly giving can carry risks. Look at what happened to Jesus.
Giving Can Reap Huge Rewards . . .
About 25 years ago my wife met a friend in the Christian Bookstore who was very despondent. Her husband had lost his job and they were struggling. She felt that there was absolutely no way that they could buy any gift for their two little girls. We discussed it and sent them "Christmas money." We received a letter after Christmas that I will never forget. It was a full two pages saying that this was "money from God," that nothing like this had ever happened to them. This was money with no strings attached! She went on and on and told each of the presents that she had bought. I don't know that I have ever felt better about helping someone then with that simple gift.
We were sitting behind Shane Gauthier while a mission trip to Haiti was being discussed. Shane wanted to go on the trip, he was a high school student at the time, he hardly knew anyone in the church at that time. He needed to raise $700 to go on the trip. I wrote a check for $100 and showed it to my wife. She held it and touched his shoulder at the end of the service. He turned around and looked at it and broke out in a huge smile. We were visiting with Shane recently, he shared that someone had helped him with his first mission trip and that it so encouraged him. His words were, "That was easy, I can do it." Then he said, "That someone was you." He caught us both off guard as we had completely forgotten the incident. Shane is now a missionary working in Haiti, the point is that you often do not know how big of an effect a simple act can have.
A Man On The Road . . .
The day was cold near freezing; sleet and rain were falling in Dallas TX. On my way to work I passed by an area known for the homeless to take shelter. I spotted a man dripping wet, in a winter jacket, carrying a satchel and a sleeping bag. He was walking along the side of the road and miles ahead without shelter. I felt an urge to stop and pick the man up out of the weather. His story was a sad one, loss of his family due to an auto accident while they were away from home. He had no money. He was we cold and tired. After listening to him I was drawing near to a bus depot. I pulled in purchased a ticket that would send him towards home and to a warmer climate. I took him across the street and purchased breakfast for him and put $25 in his pocket. I said my farewells and never heard from him again.
When I told of this experience at choir practice I got mixed reactions. Some were thankful for my generosity while others worried that this was just a drunk that would redeem the ticket for cash and head to the liquor store. I reminded them that it is not the importance of how the gift was used but that I was being used to give a gift.
I was working at a brand new job designing Apple Computer products called Applied Engineering. The owner Dan built a 20 million dollar business in less than 5 years. He was younger than me. He had everything.
My wife had given me a beautiful radio for Christmas to take to work. I had the radio in my office less than 2 weeks when it came up missing. It was never to be found. I was told Dan may have had it but he said no.
One day during lunch a coworker John and I were having our usual religious conversations when Dan came in. He wanted a bible to look up a verse that he saw in the newspaper. Dan was a non-Christian. We asked him what the verse was. He replied John: 3 16. Without hesitation we quoted the scripture.
Some months went by and one day I was fired unjustly by Dan. As I left the office crushed shocked and fearful of the hunt for new employment, I needed to be forgiving of the situation. The tugging came again. I remembered that Dan did not own a Bible. I went out to the nearest Christian book store and found a bible to send to Dan. I wrapped it in brown paper and addressed it and put it in the mail. Inside I wrote a simple note remembering of his need for a Bible that lunch day, and hoped he could use it in the future.
For the next 9 months I was without work. We were down to our last dollars. I had sold my 2 prized Antique MGs. Then at last I got a job. Two years went by and then a box came in the mail. It had Applied Engineering's logo on it. My stomach got knotted, remembering the hard times that I had just gone through because of Dan.
When I opened the box there was my radio. I was stunned. I called John, the only friend I had left at Applied Engineering. He was the one in the lunch room that day. He had no idea who sent the box and where the radio had been. It was a mystery to him. But he has some incredible news to tell me. Dan had become a Christian. He had also witnessed to his mom and dad. They became saved. And the last bit of this saga was that Dan was leading weekly bible studies during lunch at Applied Engineering.
It is not the dollar amount that is given but that the dollar is given.
God Shall Supply All Your Needs . . .
It starts several months ago. I have been under the threat of job loss for months. My husband lost his job about 2 years ago and I really wanted to stay working. During these past months thanks to the prayers of others I have had much peace but still uncertainty about what was going to happen in the end. I like to work and I wanted to be able to help in small ways when I see a need that God lays on my heart.
There was a specific need that God had burdened me with for my niece who is a beautiful young missionary working with handicapped orphans in Ecuador. She lives in an unsafe area and I found out she needed to have some bars put on her windows. About 2 months ago I found out that our unit would be closing and we were given a list of jobs that we could apply for according to our seniority. I was second to the last to be able to make my choice. By the time my turn came up there were 2 positions left, neither of which I had much interest in. Also, a dear friend that I work with and who is a Christian and was last on the list, wanted one of those positions - the only one that I also would have considered.
I had concerns that in the new job I would not be able to have Wednesdays off as that is when the Watchmen prayer group meets and I did not want to give that up. I prayed much about this and told the Lord that I wouldn't accept any job that would not let me have Wednesdays off.
The next day, which was the day I was going to have to make a decision I suddenly had an idea that I knew came from the Lord. There was a job offer that was taken off the original list because the pay scale was lower and I wanted to put it out on the table that I would be willing to take that job for lower pay. I felt that would be the best choice for me and I would continue to have health insurance, be employed, and the person under me could have the job she wanted also.
Well, long story short they went for it and also said I could have the Wednesdays off. I was told the pay was going to be about 5 dollars an hour less but I was fine with that and rejoicing at the way God was orchestrating things. A few days later I contacted my niece and told her to get some estimates for the windows.
I was so thankful and rejoicing in all the answers to prayers from over the previous months. My niece told me what the bars for the windows were going to cost and I sent the money for them off to her. The next time I went into work I had an email from our human resources department telling me that my pay cut wouldn't be 5 dollars an hour - it was going to be 97 cents and hour!
I truly feel that "thank you" is too small a word for our great God!
A Little Bit Here, A Little Bit There . . .
I have absolutely adored the Generosity series at church and wanted to share one idea that I came up with.
I had some extra features with my Charter TV and decided to downgrade (I didn't need those anyway) and take those savings and offer the extra money toward the Lord's work, as the Holy Spirit leads.
And I'm not renewing certain memberships (Sam's Club, etc.) that I don't need anymore. And I'm praying about other ways of cutting down so that more goes to where "my treasure truly is" (and it's not here! - smile)
The result? I have a deeper desire to learn, read and study. Smile - I've told the Lord often as I've gotten older, "Lord, you can take me home anytime," but I know that it's on His timetable, not mine. My reason for being here? To honor the Lord each and every day (though I fall so short many times) and to bless others daily, as He leads.
God Provides for Missionary Training
In 2006 it was a privilege to join a Christar team in northern India to receive ministry training. It would have not been possible for the generosity of one last donor who God brought across my path 24-48 hours before I was scheduled to get on the plane. Our team was receiving entry training at headquarters in Reading PA. At the same time missionaries from various countries returned to HQ for care, prayer, and training.
One evening a woman joined me at our table. She and I took the opportunity to share our stories of how God brought us to Christar. At the end of my sharing she asked if my support was at 100%. I shared what the deficiency was and she said she would pray for God's provision. The next day she caught my attention at lunch and explained how she wanted my donor account number so she could pay the balance of the money needed for me to leave the next day!!! Praise God. I was to tears of joy. It had been on my heart again and again that God wanted this training to happen at that time. Indeed He demonstrated His faithfulness again. The time in Varanasi was life changing!
Do YOU have a story to tell?
Have you been the recipient of someone's generosity? Has God given you the opportunity so be generous to someone?
If you'd like to share your story, send it to Pastor Bill Price. We'll keep compiling the stories as they come in.