What He Inspires

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 12:24-25

Recently, our family has been going to “church” (verb) on Sundays; by going out to the local community to demonstrate God’s love through our Godly acts of kindness. Going to give “church” doesn’t absolve us from the need to go and receive “church”. So our Sundays usually involves both going “to church” (noun) for Godly worship, then going “to church” (verb) for Godly works.

When going out to church for Godly works it never fails that God always lead us to someone He inspires us to serve – sometimes in the most unlikely places, and under the most unexpected circumstances. Such was certainly the case on Sunday, May 17, 2015.

On Sunday, May 17, 2015, I got up early in the morning to start planning our family activities for the day. Earlier that morning my wife (Marya) had left to go “to church” by visiting a friend who was going through a particularly rough trial. So on this particular Sunday morning it would be just me and our two boys.

I had encouraged Marya to take my car. That left me with her SUV when it was time for the boys and I to head to church.

As I hurried the kids into the SUV, I noticed something rather disturbing as I started to pull out of the garage. The vehicle’s gas gage was completely on empty – and I had left my wallet in my car, which Marya now had. No money, no driver’s license, and no wallet – what was I to do?

With the luxury of quick thinking I told my 14 year (Theo) to run back in the house and get his piggy bank. Theo re-emerged a few minutes later, toting his almost completely full piggy bank – along with a rather sheepish and confused expression. There was one $5 bill, two $1 bills, and a mountain of coins in Theo’s bank. “Take the paper currency out, I’ll pay you back later.”

I took the $7 and headed for the gas station. Seven bucks wouldn’t get us very far, but I reasoned that it would surely get us to the church and back. As we pulled up to gas pump, I was fighting the temptation of being upset with my wife. How many times had I asked her never to leave the car gas tanks empty? The boys and I put $7 worth of gas in the SUV, and off to church we headed.

As we approached the onramp onto the freeway I noticed a homeless man standing at the intersection. My guilt had me hoping that I would make the stop light so that I wouldn’t have to come face-to-face with the homeless man. But, as fate would have it, the red light caught me just in time for me to be directly adjacent to the homeless man, now standing just to the left of our SUV.

Just then I felt a nudge from God – “Give him the piggy bank.” I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t my money, and Theo had been saving those coins for years. “Give him the piggy bank!!”

I finally gave in. I reached over and grabbed the piggy bank off of the center console of the SUV, and gave Theo a reassuring smile. I then let down my window, held up the piggy bank, and motioned for the homeless man to approach the SUV.

The man looked confused at first. Then, when he finally realized what I was trying to do, he rushed over to our vehicle.

“Here you go, sir”, I said as I handed over the entire piggy bank to the stranger. The man’s tired and weathered face suddenly broke out into a wide grin. “OH MY GOD, YOU JUST BLESSED ME!!” the man finally exclaimed loudly.

It was a moment of awkwardness. We hadn’t blessed the man; the Lord had blessed the man through us. But it felt great to be used by God in such a special way.

On the rest of the drive to church Theo and I never talked about what happened back at the intersection. Then, rather suddenly, and without apparent prompting, Theo leaned over about ¾ of the way through the church service and whispered in my ear:

“That was so cool, what we did back at the intersection. I can’t believe how good I feel about it.”

I then asked Theo if he caught what the man said when he received the piggy bank full of coins. Without hesitation Theo’s eyes lit up as he repeated the man’s words verbatim. “Yep, he said `Oh my God, you just blessed me.’”

For the rest of the day, Theo must have repeated those words 10 more times, including during his excitement when he recounted the story to his Mom when we returned home.

Through Marya’s negligence in leaving the gas tank empty, a homeless man was blessed and a teenage boy was shown the beauty of Godly sacrifice. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways!

God’s word from the passage in Hebrew 12: 24 – 25 encourages us to never neglect the opportunity to meet together with other saints (to go “to church” – the noun). But it also challenges us to stir one another up to go out and show Godly love, and to do good works for those in need (to go “to church” – the verb).

So, every Sunday our family heads “to church” for our spiritual feeling. Then we head out to our local community to go “to church” others by looking for opportunities to serve, through the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit.

That’s what He has inspired!