Generosity

A Sky Train Ticket

Tell us what happened:

"This morning I was in a rush to get to work, but decided I needed a coffee. So I stopped at the gas station where they have my favourite coffee (Costas). I went in, got some water and a coffee, paid, and went back to my car.

I turned on my car, and there was a tap at the passenger window. Slightly confused, I rolled down the window, and a middle aged man began speaking quite softly and looked rather sullen, “Excuse ma'am, I'm sure you're quite busy and probably just headed to work, but I was wondering if you had any money to spare? I am overdrawn in my account, and need to catch the Sky Train to get to work. I don't get paid til tomorrow, and I have never done this, but I'm just hopeless. I don't want to get fired, and I would gladly go without food for Sky Train fare. Do you have anything?”

This man did not look like the usual type that was asking for money, in fact, he looked like a middle class man, and seemed absolutely desperate.

“Err, let me look…” I said. I looked in my change compartment, and my wallet, but I had nothing. I got out of my car, bringing my wallet with me and said, “Just give me a minute though!”

I walked straight back into the gas station, the entire time trying to decide what to do, as I'm almost in a similar position as it's pay day at midnight, and we are living on our last $100… instead of thinking, I walked straight to the ATM, and sure enough, it was my bank’s ATM machine.  Amused, I laughed, since there would be no extra charges and I withdrew $20, and walked outside. The man was waiting, and looked pretty ashamed. I walked up to him, and handed him the $20 bill. He was so surprised, and started to say, “Oh no, I couldn't, this is too much! Please give me your number, and I'll pay you back!”

I laughed, and said, “No way! You just need to know that there are good people out there that care enough that they don't want to see you lose your job or go hungry! You better hurry so you'll make your train.”

The man began to cry, and exclaimed,"Thank you so much… you have no idea how much this means to me.”

I watched the man walk away, and sat in my car thinking what an interesting opportunity this was for me, and what a way to begin my day before even getting to work. Kingdom is all about family, and loving our family even before they get into the kingdom (this man could be already, who knows). I want to be known for a love that is generous, and makes people feel known and valued. The greater emphasis of the kingdom and His manifest presence in my life is that I am His instrument and fully aware of what He is doing even when I'm busy and in the process of a chaotic day. The opportunity to be love to people who need it is infinite… at the end of the day, the number one need is that people feel known, valued and loved.

We believe that generosity is an act of worship! It’s how we partner with Heaven to advance the Kingdom, by investing in what God is doing with People, the Church and our City. Way to go!! Thanks for sharing and keep going.

Holy Spirit Cues

Tell us what happened:

"I was at work and a lady came through my checkout with her two children and a buggy of around $150 of items. We rang her through and she went to pay, but her card was declined. This happens to a lot of people, and its not always due to lack of funds! So we tried it again, but got the same result. She tried another card and that didn't work either. When it first declined I became aware of the scenario, her buggy was full of essentials, milk, eggs, diapers etc. And i said to God "if it doesn't work at all, i cant afford to pay for all of her groceries but i would like to help" She asked if she could cancel the order and ring them through, one item at a time, to see if that worked. We did that and she managed to get three items before the same message came up. She tried to buy the bacon, because "that was the next essential item" she joked. That's when i saw the opportunity to step in and I asked "can i buy you the bacon and the diapers for you?" She looked a little shocked, "why would you do that?" she asked and i replied "because i would hate to see you leave without them today!" She said thank you and obliged my request to help "that's very kind of you".

Now by this point there was a line up beginning to form because of how long it was taking. As we scanned the bacon and diapers, the lady behind her in the line up said "il buy the fish crackers!" The lady now became overwhelmed with joy, "you guys, your making me cry" My cashier and I began to laugh and we said "whats next! what else do you want!?" She was openly crying at this point, tears of appreciation, my supervisor must have been so confused as to what was happening as she was still lingering after voiding a transaction. The lady declined our request and said "thank you, you've done more than enough!" We told her to have an amazing day and happy thanksgiving and then she left crying.

I had to take the perishable items back to the coolers, but before i did, the lady who bought the fish crackers gave me a smile and a nod of the head. Whoever you are, thank you for partnering with us to give without hesitation. Keep paying it forward!"

Learning to pick up on the social cues of the Holy Spirit is really quite simple, you can begin by focusing your attention not on yourself but on the people around you. This is a great example of becoming a divine appointment for others rather than waiting for one yourself. You are a powerful person with all the resources of Heaven! God wants to do something through you not just something for you.

Divine Appointments

Random act of kindness. I have grown to dislike this phrase. Many times when a church steps out into the community to show God's love in tangible and practical ways, it is seen as the church randomly showing kindness. This phrase, which I have used often, does not take into account the fact that God is not random. We do not serve a random God! Nowhere in the biblical account of God's character, do we ever see randomness. What we do see, however, is purpose. We see a God that is purposeful in everything He does and in everything He calls us to do. This purposefulness extends in the way God is using us to reconcile a lost and dying world. I love the verse John 6:44 where Jesus says:

"No one can come to Me except those who God draws"

This verse gives us insight that we serve a God that is not random, but that is meticulous in the way that He draws people to Jesus. When we understand this, we understand that when we show God's love in practical ways in the community, it is anything but random.

When we step out and show love and kindness in practical ways, God goes before us and creates what we like to call Divine Appointments. One of my favorite Divine Appointment stories comes from my friend Hannah and her neighbor:

One day after pulling into her driveway, Hannah was getting out of her car. She was blindsided by a huge hug from a lady who lived in her neighborhood. Hannah, not knowing this woman, looked startled and asked the woman if she needed help. The lady laughed and said no, but went on to tell Hannah why she was so happy to see her. The lady said that several months ago Hannah's church came by and gave her a package of dum dum's with a card that simply said, "Just for you, Just because. We hope this small gift brightens your day... there are no strings attached, we just want you to know that God loves you." Hannah's neighbor told her that from the kindness she was shown, she was compelled to come to the church gathering on Easter Sunday and surrendered her life to Christ.

 
 

Wow! This woman will be the first to tell you that this stuff is not random, but the story did not stop there.

She went on telling Hannah that her daughter was home from University a few months after Easter. This woman began sharing her new love for Jesus to her daughter and invited her to also give her life to Christ. The daughter became very upset and started raising her voice saying, "Why would I believe in a God that has never been present in my life! Why would I believe in a God that has never shown up!" Hannah's neighbor said that as soon as her daughter finished that sentence, there was a knock on the door. As Hannah's neighbor and her daughter answered the door they were shocked to find a team from Hannah's church that was showing God's kindness in practical ways by giving out free pop and popcorn for a free movie night to people in that neighborhood. The team gave out all the supplies for the free movie night and then prayed for Hannah's neighbor and daughter and left.

 
 

The daughter's jaw must have dropped! She went from shouting that God was nowhere to be found in her life, to having a group of believers at her doorstep showing her free kindness and praying for her. I can't tell you that the daughter got on her knees and surrendered her life to Jesus right then and there, but if she does ever make that decision, she will look back at this moment as a time that God was whispering "Come to me"

God is not random. I believe that God has a purpose and that He sets up divine appointments each and every time we set out to show His kindness in practical ways. We pray that the Stirring community will be sensitive to the ways God has gone before the church to create many purposeful connections, and many divine appointments.

- Austin

 

 
 

Austin and Ashley Cooper are passionate believers from Weatherford, Texas USA. They have recently arrived in Canada to plant a Church in Port Coquitlam as a part of the Church on the Rock Global Family. They believe whole hardheartedly in extending Gods' Kingdom, and have run missional outreaches for a number of years. Their fun and unique expression of Christianity has become a powerful influence in the lives of people, and we think God really enjoys it! They are a family of four, having two beautiful children named Judah and Ezra.

WEBSITE - Kindness Outreach