The elderly man held the cardboard sign higher as our car pulled to the stoplight.
My friends and I had just come from a women’s conference at a nearby church. I sat in the backseat beside Eleanor, whose window was even with the man outside.
She looked at him, then her eyes darted to her purse. “I don’t have money to give, and certainly not a job. But I do have this.” Eleanor nodded to the loaf of banana bread she’d won as a door prize at the conference. Beaming, she leaned out of the car window and handed the loaf of bread to the man.
He stared at the wrapped bundle. “What’s this?”
“Banana bread—for you!”
A smile lit up his weathered face at the unexpected gift. “Thank you!” he called as the light turned green.
The elderly man wasn’t the only one smiling. Those of us in the car had just witnessed a God-ordained moment, a moment in which an old man received joy because of my friend’s generous heart.
Some time later, I experienced that same generosity in my own life. I was chatting with my co-worker Cassie during a quiet moment in our otherwise busy day. My daughter Bethany was a freshman at a university in the mountains of North Carolina, and the weather was turning cooler. Almost thinking out loud, I mentioned I needed to get a winter coat for Bethany since she’d be walking to class in freezing temperatures.
Cassie thought for a moment, then smiled. “I have a coat that might fit her. My daughter can’t wear it yet, so Bethany can use the coat until my daughter needs it.”
Cassie lived in public housing, and over the years she had raised sixteen children. Yet, she was willing to trust me with a coat her own daughter would one day need. Her loving, generous spirit humbled me.
God taught me two important lessons from Eleanor and Cassie. The first is to embrace the opportunities He presents to us. Consider Proverbs 3:27,28: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you.”
Cassie heard of my daughter’s need for a coat, and she offered one she owned. She didn’t wait until her children had outgrown it. Likewise, when Eleanor saw a man who was hungry, she seized the opportunity to meet that need. And she did it in the seconds before a traffic light changed! How many times do we wait for the time to be more convenient and miss the blessing in front of us?
The second lesson God taught me is to give what I have and trust Him with the results. Even though I’m sure Eleanor would have loved to offer a four-course meal to the elderly man, she had only a loaf of bread. But she gave what she had.
Think about the feeding of the five thousand recorded in the Gospels. John 6:8,9 state: “One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?”
We can sympathize with Andrew, can’t we? Sometimes we look at our limited resources and think, “How can this help?” And we may be tempted to give nothing at all. But Andrew, along with everyone else that day, witnessed how Jesus multiplied the tiny lunch into more than enough for the crowd to eat and be satisfied.
He can do the same for us. When Jesus touches our offering, He works wonders! His power and resources are never limited. Because of God’s abundant grace, He will give us an abundance for every good deed.
Let’s not miss the wonders God will work when we trust Him. May we embrace the opportunities He gives. And may we do so with hearts like Cassie and Eleanor.
About the Author:
Kim Teague is pursuing a life-long dream of writing. Her first book, The Secret of Jenny’s Portrait, has just been released by Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. In this Christian suspense novel, a lovely portrait and a shocking discovery put faith to the ultimate test.
Kim’s passion is to portray characters who, in the midst of life’s struggles, journey to a deeper trust in God and His amazing love. Kim is married to Barry, senior pastor at Brices Creek Bible Church. They enjoy spending time with their grown children, walking on the beach, and taking care of two dogs and a cat. Visit Kim’s website at www.kimteagueauthor.com. The Secret of Jenny’s Portrait is available at Amazon.com and Kindle. Click on the book cover for an easy link to Amazon.