Amazing Blessed Night!!!

February 01, 2009

A few weeks ago my awesome church gave me money.

What's that?

Yes, you heard correctly. My church gave me and the rest of the congregation money. That week's sermon was about having a spirit of generosity and about making investments in the kingdom. The pastor (with approval from the elders of course) took an entire week's worth of tithes/offerings that come into the church and gave it back to the church.

There were certain stipulations for use of the money. It wasn't for me to keep or to share with my family. It wasn't to be sent away to a televangelist, but rather to be kept within our community. And lastly, if we weren't comfortable with the challenge/responsibility, we were to just give it back to the church.

I immediately felt called to add from my own money to the money given from the church. I carried it around with me, trying to look for areas how/where I could use it. I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy things with it and give things or to just give the actual cash.

After awhile I switched purses and stopped carrying it around with me. I even forgot about it for awhile. This morning, though, I remembered and decided to start carrying it with me once again and to earnestly pray that God would show me what I should do with the money and how it could best be used.

That's the background info. Now here's the good stuff!

Tonight, after a wonderful evening in Elkhart, I was on my way back home just before 11, knowing I should stop for gas. I hate getting gas. Even more so in the dark and in the cold - brrr. But since I was on empty, I decided to suck it up and do it.

Immediately I was aware of a pickup truck I pulled up next to at the gas station I chose to go to on the south side. As I was getting my credit card ready, I noticed a man out my window a few feet back. He was trying to talk to me, and I actually really wanted to know what he had to say. I put my window down a bit, and he told me that he was trying to find a place to stay overnight and didn't have the funds to afford it, that he had a $10 lottery ticket he was trying to cash in, but the gas station's lotto ticket money thingie wasn't working currently or something (I don't really know lotto lingo).

He also told me my tire was low.

I told him to give me a second. I put my window up, shut off my car, and got the money out of my purse, along with a card that says this gift is our way of showing God's love to you and it lists our church information.

I got out of the car and said, "I have been praying for God to lead me to someone who could use this." I gave him the cash and the card and of course a smile.

He then told me how he had come to town from Florida for his 7 year old son's memorial service and how he couldn't afford to make it back to Florida now. He and his girlfriend of 25 years and his cousin were sleeping in his truck and doing odd jobs to try to afford a cheap room at the South Bend Motel.

He wasn't telling me a sob story. I had already given him money. He was sharing his story. I got gas and then he filled up all my tires with air (which was a real blessing for me!!). And then I offered to meet him at Wal-Mart around the corner so that I could get some groceries for him and his family. He was shocked and honored by my offer and tried repeatedly to find something he could do for me in return.

I told him I was doing this for him in Christ's love.

We shopped at Wal-Mart, picking up fruit, bread, lunchmeat, cheese, chips, root beer, Reese's PB Cups (I insisted, knowing his girlfriend would appreciate it!), and a hat and gloves for him to help stay warm.

As we shopped, he shared more of his story, talking about work he has done and how he has laid flooring in Dolly Parton's and Oprah Winfrey's homes. He talked about his family, saying how he was the youngest of 11 and that his dad died early on and his mom raised them all herself.

After we checked out, I felt led to give him some additional money to help with lodging.

As we walked out to his truck I told him I would keep him in my thoughts and prayers. I spoke specific prayers for him to feel God's blessing as he deals with the loss of his son. I could see so much hurt in his face. He also shared how heartbroken he was when his sister died.

This man needed to talk. He needed something different to have hope.

I share this story certainly not to toot my own horn. I write it to share with you how blessed I was to be apart of his story. How blessed I was to be used by God to bring a tiny bit of joy and hope to this man's life. Please pray with me for Bill! And please rejoice with me for this incredible opportunity I was able to be a part of!

I was never scared of him. Never worried. I knew God was with me, working through me. I knew this was the man I had been praying for.

[To hear other people's stories, read the comments at my pastor's original post about this opportunity here.]

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  1. Wow, Jennifer! I am so praising and thanking God with you right now! So amazingly, incredibly like God to be so cool. :)

  2. Awesome... great great story. Christ's love in action is what it's all about. I will pray for him tonight, LC. :)

  3. Jen -

    That is just a remarkable story! What an amazing real life testimony to be Christ's "hands and feet" in the world. I have never had quite such a profound realtime experience of that truth and you have inspired me to seek out such an opportunity!

  4. What an incredible story. I realize you were just being obedient to the call of God, but blessings to you for your obedience. The kind of life we can live just by being available to God was reflected in you last night. All heaven is rejoicing!


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