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.
Sometimes a neighbor can be a person that lives in close proximity. Other times a neighbor might be defined as someone you work with or cross paths with in one way or another. If there’s one thing we know about God, it’s that He doesn’t make mistakes. He has placed you around the people who frequently cross your path for a reason. Here are a few of the beautiful stories from The $100 Difference of how God used a $100 gift card to help people connect with their neighbors.
“My wife works with a team of aides that help with patient care. She learned that one of the aides' husband was terminally ill with cancer and over the past year had to quit his job and was receiving round the clock hospice care. Based on conversations with the aide, she and her husband were not believers. The week after Thanksgiving, we found out that this man died as a result of the cancer. The aide shared that the week before her husband died, he made the decision for Christ and was baptized. We knew that finances were extremely tight as a result of the husband's lack of work and his prolonged illness, so we knew that the proper place to put this gift card was in her hands. My wife continues to be an encouragement in her coworker's life, and I know this small gift was able to make a difference. We continue to pray that God finishes the good work He started with this family and that her coworker's heart would soften to God's saving love." -Jeff
"We had been praying for a way to help our neighbors and the gift card was an answer to those prayers. We gave it to neighbors who recently moved from Colorado to Indiana but have struggled a bit with work and finances. The dad was getting ready to have surgery and was going to be out of work for two weeks, so that meant no paycheck for two weeks. We have been praying as a family for a way to help them during that time. When the gift card was announced, my husband and I both felt it was an answer to our prayers and that God wanted us to use it to help ease their worries while the dad recovered from surgery. The family was extremely grateful, and a bit cautious about that kind of a gift. We explained to them that this was a gift from God given by our hands and that it's from the love of God. They were able to buy groceries while the dad was recovering and that made one less worry for them. We are so thankful that our prayers were answered to help a family we have grown to love dearly." -Jenny
"When I first heard Luke tell us about sharing our treasure and our blessings with others, I wasn't sure how I would participate. I wondered who I knew that could use a blessing. Then I felt a tug inside my heart and the face of the person that could use the help. But there was an issue. I am normally not one to approach strangers. And the person I was thinking of seems friendly, but we have not said much to each other outside of a "hello" each day. So, it took more than a few days to think of how I would approach this person. It also took some prayers. She works full time as a janitor at my workplace. I read in the news earlier in the year that the janitors in my workplace, as contractors, don't make a lot of money. Many will have to work two jobs to make ends meet. I told her about our church wanting us to share blessings this Christmas. And I hoped she would accept the envelope because I thought she might need some help. She told me thank you and we separated back to our jobs. Later that day, she saw me again and asked me about the church and why we would do this. I had another chance to talk to her, and this time the conversation was a little more open. I still see her a few times a day. The hellos are filled with a smile and I think that sharing our blessing has touched her. And I think I can have a chance to talk to her again a little more. I feel blessed in the Spirit leading me and helping me in my conversation. I also realized that it doesn't take much to help others—just a little effort on my part." -Eric
"We shared the $100 gift card along with some toys and other needs and we chose a family that I’m connected with through work. This was an easy decision to show God’s love with these 3 beautiful children and their mom who is doing her best to meet their needs and make a better life for her family. Thank you for the opportunity to share God’s love through this gift card.” -Amy
"I took a gift card last Sunday and I spoke with my family about the opportunity before us and that we needed to pray for Jesus to show us who to give the gift card to. All week long we discussed it and kept praying for Jesus to show us who needed this card. I took it with me in my purse wherever I went, watching and waiting. This morning before church, as I was moving my wallet and keys over to a different purse, the envelope with the gift card caught my eye. I whispered a prayer for God to help me be aware and lay who needed this card on my heart, and then moved it to my purse I’d be carrying for the day. After church, we stopped by a restaurant to get our lunch in the drive-thru. A woman walked to our car and handed us our bag, and then I realized that it was a friend from childhood that I’ve had the opportunity to “keep up with” via Facebook over the last several years. I don’t know her whole story, but have seen through posts the anguish and struggle that she has battled for her and her son. Immediately upon seeing her face, I felt God impressing upon me that she needed this gift card. I quickly grabbed it from my purse and handed it to her and said, “Jesus loves you!” She smiled, said thank you and put it in her pocket. I don’t know what it will mean for her and her son, but I do know that it presented an opportunity for me to share that blessing with my three kids and to discuss Jesus and His goodness with them. It was priceless!” -Paris
Praise God for how He’s worked in and through each of these stories! Who has He placed in your path recently, who you can share the love of Christ with?