Some things happen, and you can think you did it yourself.
Other things happen, and you know without a doubt that God did it — and that you had very little to do with that process.
Let me tell you what God did this weekend.
In our continuing quest to find tangible ways to live out Christ in our community — to find a definition for Christianity that resembled, again, the Savior upon whose life we are supposed to pattern our own — we felt challenged by the story I related from my friend on the west coast, and decided we should try it too.
With only a few days left before Christmas, and most of our budget spent on presents already, we weren’t sure we could pull off quite the same success he had, but we figured we’d trust God with what little we had left, and see if He could use it to bless someone. So we got in touch with the local shelter, and asked them if there was a family we could help.
I played phone tag with the lady there, and was near giving up, when we finally connected, and she told us that there was a family moving out of the shelter and into their first home — their only possessions being the clothes on their backs. We determined that, at the very least, we could find them a meal, a used microwave, and some gifts for the kids.
So we put some feelers out online, hooked up a meal for them through the church, and a friend sent us a link to a $10 microwave on Kijiji. And from then on, God took over…
– The gentleman selling the microwave replied to my query, saying he’d give it to us for free, if we’d pass on the good deed to someone else this Christmas. When we explained that we were buying it for a good deed, he was incredibly excited, and asked how he could help. The family we’re shopping for has a 4 year-old daughter (and a 10 year old and 16 year old boy) who loves Dora the Explorer. The guy selling the microwave has a 7 and 9 year old daughter who were previously into Dora. He said he’d see what else they could come up with before we picked up the microwave…
– When we stopped by their house this morning, a beaming husband and wife had a pile of stuff waiting at the door. They half-filled our car with clothes, toys, and small appliances!
– Then we hit Dollarama and Value Village to pick up some other essentials for the house, jamming stuff in-between and underneath the kids in their car seats. In a little under 3 hours, and for just over $100, we had a car-full of stuff — so much that Nicole had to hold things on her lap on the trip home.
We put the kids down for a nap, and happily cleaned and packed up the stuff, excited to be able to have gotten so much to share with this family! We were amazed by how God had easily doubled our investment, and proudly took a picture of our little pile…
But He wasn’t done yet! A few minutes later, Nicole noticed our neighbour moving in a roommate. Since he’d helped me clear-off the driveway last night with his snow blower, I figured the least I could do was help them unload. So I dressed warm, and stomped over there to lend a hand. Between the two of them, they had a ton of stuff in their little house, and I wondered to myself what they could possibly do with it all. When we were mostly done, I went back home to sit down and rest…
– Moments later the neighbour reached the same conclusion I had about the contents of their house and started loading back up a couch. On a whim, I ran out and asked if I could buy it off them for this family. When I explained the story, they offered it to me for free! I couldn’t turn that down, so we opened the garage, and loaded it, and the matching love-seat in.
– Then he came back, and asked if the family could use a bed! So we loaded in a bed!
– Then he came back, and asked if the family could use a TV… so we loaded in the TV!
At the start of the day, we set out with a tiny bit of faith, and a little stretch in our budget… by the time God was done, He’d multiplied that easily 10 times over. Tonite we have a garage full of stuff to give to a family with nothing this Christmas.
This is the body of Christ at work. We’re going to deliver this, and as explanation for where it came from, the Christmas story in both their native language, and English. Because this was the message He brought with Him: one of hope, and mercy and grace and love.
And when Christians offer those things, we point to the ultimate offering: His life, for each of ours.
Its OK to give each other gifts, and sing cheesy carols, and hang tacky lights. But let’s not forget that Jesus came to offer something infinitely better than that. And in exchange for faith the size of a mustard seed, He offers a plan that changes lives…