Back in November we embarked on a journey called The $100 Difference. We gave out $100 gift cards to members of our congregation with the belief that the simple act of blessing someone else with a gift card can make a difference in their life in the name of Jesus.
God did some amazing things through this simple initiative and I wanted to share a few stories this week about how God used some acts of generosity to make a difference.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 tells us that, "Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” God certainly used His people as cheerful givers through The $100 Difference, and here are some of the stories of generosity.
We are friends with a woman whose husband died of a heart attack a couple years ago and he had no life insurance. He left behind three high school and college-aged girls who all live in their home. At the time of us getting The $100 Difference card to give to our friend, she was jobless and having a very difficult time. We decided to take the church's gift and triple it—making the total gift of $300. The blessing is that we were stretched to do something for a fellow friend that we otherwise may not have done. Our friend wrote us a thank you for the gift that said, "I wanted to thank you for showing Jesus' love to me at this time. I have been out of work and it helped a lot. Your family has been a Godsend to my family, and we appreciate you so much!” -Klint
My sister traveled to see me and drove 3 hours in an old beat up car. She put all her fear and anxiety aside about driving the distance and the condition of her car. We had a wonderful two days together! My husband aired up her tires and filled up her tank and got her on her way on Saturday afternoon. We got a call about one hour into her trip that she had a flat tire. She did not have a spare, money, or any options. My husband called a friend and they made a plan to pick up the car early Sunday morning, tow it, get new tires, and have it ready to go. While the car was being repaired, the kids and I went to the 11:00 am service. When the message was about giving, I thought, "How fitting!" When there was an offer for the $100 gift, I knew it would help my sister. Once we got home from church, we hugged her and sent her on her way with her fixed car and $100 gift card. We told her the message: "we cannot outgive God." We gave to her, and He gave to us. It was a beautiful thing to witness that day—for her, for us, and for our children. -Jennifer
I have a friend that left her apartment the night before Thanksgiving to head to her mom's for the holiday. Two hours later, she receives a call from her complex saying the building she lives in caught fire and the entire building is now condemned! She didn't have renter's insurance, so she had lost everything but the clothes in her car and a coat on her back. I knew exactly how it feels to experience this type of loss as I lost everything in a fire back in 1990. I told her that I would pray for her and help anyway I could. I had started gathering her favorite things myself in hopes of making a trip to surprise her. Knowing I don't have a lot of extra money, I would give up things to help instead. That Sunday sermon shared about helping others in need and I immediately signed up to help her. I called that evening to see how she was and reminded her she is never alone, and I wanted to bless her with the gift card to help get her. She is incredibly thankful, and she intends to pay it forward once she is situated. Thank you for helping God's love shine on those who are in need! -Pamela
My first thought (for the gift card) was about the "kids" that my daughter represents and serves in her role as a case manager. I hear her stories of her "kids" and how they struggle through life—many times without the support of anyone who truly loves them. In my zest of talking with my daughter, we quickly decided that of her 20 kids, we could not pick just one to receive this blessing. I immediately said, "Well, your dad and I will match what we have from the church, so that will help." Then the light bulb went on and we both got on the phone and called several family members and friends. As of today, we have $1,000 so that each child will have a $50 gift card to take shopping with my daughter to pick out a gift for Christmas. I have seen the goodness in people and how quickly even those without much to give, gave in spite of that. I got to see people's eyes light up because they were able to help someone else. My heart is full, my soul is singing, and I know my Father was here to guide us in our endeavor to spread His Word and multiply His giving. -Deb
It’s so encouraging to hear that a simple act spurred further generosity and outpourings of love. What simple step of obedience can you take today to partner with what God is doing to bless those around you?