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 over the next few weeks, we wanted to tell you four of the ways we saw Him at work—through expressions of His love, acts of generosity, and acts of neighboring.
This week, we’ll share how we saw God use a $100 gift as an expression of His love. The dictionary’s definition of a gift is, “a thing given willingly to someone without payment.” Jesus was a gift given to us (John 3:16). Not only did we not give payment in return for His gift, we couldn’t give payment if we wanted to! That is the kind of extravagant love we have received, and we give freely as an expression of our gratitude. Here are a few examples of how God used the gift of a $100 gift card to express His love through His people:
"I have an acquaintance who struggles to make a living and to keep a roof over her head. We spoke at a private place and I started by saying God loves you and wants you to know he cares. We want you to know this and remember this during difficult times. We talked for a while. This lady was smiling with eyes shining when she told me later her refrigerator and freezer were filled. She was so happy. Again I said it’s not me, but Christ—do not be discouraged, have faith. Our relationship is now closer. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to bless her—it really blessed me too." -Cathy
"It was perfect timing for this blessing of a monetary gift for my friend's family. His father-in-law had just passed away recently, putting them in a tough financial situation. When Luke made the announcement at the end of the service (about the gift card), I immediately went to the foyer to get one. There was never a doubt about who I was going to bless with this gift. They were very grateful and thankful.” -Larry
"I recently met a woman, who was living in a homeless shelter where I volunteer. She was always working around the place and just got a job and was going to move into an apartment. Yesterday I gave her the gift card and told her it was a gift from God. She didn’t realize how much it was for but told me she was going to spend it on the shelter. I told her it was $100 and she was to use it on herself to get something she needed for herself or her new apartment. She promised she would and walked away with tears in her eyes. It made me feel so good inside to be able to help her start her new life.” -Dawn
“When presented that Sunday in church, I immediately knew who I would give it to. At the Community Thanksgiving Dinner, I met a young single mother who is living in a Plainfield motel with her three children all under the age of six. She said they had nothing for Christmas and she cannot afford to get out of the motel. She was thrilled with the gift card!” -Charisse
"I gave the gift card to a single lady that I know who lives by herself. She has lost both parents and recently lost both brothers who lived with her. She also recently lost her job. By sharing this card with her, I wanted to show her that Jesus really does care about her and loves her. This made me realize the true meaning of Christmas—giving—sharing love with family and friends, but knowing that we have received the greatest gift of all—the gift of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. And He is always here for us. I have also lost both my parents and struggled and felt lost, alone, and deserted. But I leaned on Jesus and my church. I am hoping that this card will be the start of my friend knowing His love for her.” -Deanna
The $100 gift card blessing was a unique opportunity to give a helping hand to those in need. Although the number of uses were large I prayed for guidance where to place this gift. The gift card was given to a family I’m connected to in Danville. They are raising their two grandchildren while doing their best to give their mother the help she needs. This situation has been many years long; taking toll on their health and financial stability. This gift card caught the family by welcomed surprise!” -June
"The gift was given to bless a young mother with a one year old daughter. The mother and child have been with a loving Christian foster family. She will be aging out of foster care this spring. Both of her parents are in prison, her grandmother died recently, and her grandfather is not financially able to provide for her and her baby. Even with these circumstances in her young life, she is showing great strength and responsibility while attending school and working a job to help provide for herself and her daughter. Her future has many challenges and uncertainties. We are praying that this gift in the name of Jesus will show her His love for her and her daughter throughout all the uncertainties of her life. I would prefer that my name remain confidential from the gift since the gift is from our Lord Jesus Christ, not me. I was only the deliverer."
We so grateful to hear of how God used this simple act of love to make a difference in the lives of others. Thankfully, we don’t need a $100 gift card to make a difference in someone else’s life. What simple thing can you do this week to make a difference to someone in the name of Jesus?