Thursday, July 29, 2004

a tale of generosity

one day a woman, ratty, dirty, and coarse, walked into a very clean middle class church. she asked for some money, explained that she had just been released from jail and hadn't seen her daughter for 3 weeks...maybe two months. she appeared to be coming down from some drugs, had a prison wristband on still, and wanted to get up the freeway a few hours. one of the church employees decided to write a check for her, from the church, to buy bus fare up the freeway.

well, maybe we can help her. or maybe i'm just giving her money to throw away on something that isn't going to help her at all.

she thought this as she handed the woman a check and watched her walk out the door...not the swagger of a drunkard as some might expect, rather the limp of a broken woman.

i hope she doesn't just throw this money away. we're pretty tight right now financially, and she doesn't even go to our church. God, please use this to draw her to yourself.

this thought and this prayer were thrown up as the employee headed back off to a staff meeting, and then her mind let it go as the week brought other things onto her plate.

on her return from lunch one day a week or so later, a surprising card was found on her desk. it was a thank you note. it appeared that valerie, the woman who needed help, had indeed made it up the road, and a friend was overwhelmed by the generosity of one hard pressed church who didn't know if they were helping or not.

the note explained that valerie made it up the freeway, and was really surprised that someone would take a chance on her. in the words of valerie's friend, it made her reconsider her own life. valerie's friend sent a check to cover the bus ticket, and then sent a little extra money because she thought it was worth supporting a church that really cared about people and was doing what jesus told them to do. those weren't all her words, she may not have even been a christian. but that is what happened, and she saw jesus whether she knew it or not.

that's some pretty powerful stuff from a bus fare. pretty powerful indeed.

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