Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. – Romans 15:2
One of my highlights in ministry was when we took teams to New Orleans after the hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Elsie and I led a team down within two weeks of the disaster. We got to give supplies to people as they came to the church that had become a distribution centre. They would drive up in their vehicles, we would find out what they needed and we would give it to them.
Because we would only have seconds of personal contact we couldn’t preach the gospel in that instance! I asked God how I could communicate my heart and he gave me a sentence like this, “I want you to know that Jesus loves you and this [giving them supplies] is the best way I can show you.” As you can imagine, I got the gamut of responses from, “If God loves me why did he allow Katrina to destroy my home.” to people bursting out in tears touched by the love of God!
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – I John 3:18
When I was single I lived in a house with a bunch of guys. One of them was a ladies man. Although he was engaged he would go out with other women. One day I got to share the Gospel with him. He was struggling with the lie that he wasn’t good enough for God. So, I told him about St. Augustine, who in his youth was also a ladies man, but discovered the grace of God and had become such an influence in the Church that he still impacts us to this day.
During that conversation, I felt from the Holy Spirit that I should give him my car. I was getting ready to move to California, so instead of selling the car, to help pay for the trip, I gave it to him. He needed a car desperately because of his job so I gave it to him because the Lord had said so.
I subsequently learned that he had become a follower of Jesus and had gotten married to his fiancee! I am sure that there were many factors at play that influenced him to become a follower of Jesus – others in the house were sharing the gospel with him, for one thing. But I know that one factor was that he experienced a tangible expression of “undeserved” generosity. Isn’t that what the gospel is? He got to experience a minor but manifest expression of grace.
When we give in the name of Jesus it’s never just a humanitarian action. There is a heavenly dimension to it and who knows what could happen when the Spirit is involved!
As we get involved in the Big Give, let’s give the Spirit an opportunity to touch people as we bless them in Jesus’ name!