Generous “George”Posted: Saturday, March 13, 2010 Filed under: 2k7 | Tags: Commonwealth Chapel, divine appointment, generosity, missionary, obedience, Richmond, Southern Barton Heights, Urban, youth retreat 1 Comment
After a few days of posting on other stuff…let’s get back to the story….
Back at work downtown and on the road, divine appointments were occurring on a regular basis. At this point, I was beginning to expect them…to actually look for moments that God was orchestrating. I was beginning to wonder were these opportunities there all the time? I had been just missing them? Some…I didn’t even know they were occurring until much later.
There was this one time…when I received a call from a work colleague from several states away. This was not unusual because I worked with people all across the nation and talked to them daily. But, this call was different. I really didn’t know the person, but he acted like he knew me. I haven’t talked to him about this post…so I will just call him “George”.
So…George calls me to tell ME a story. It was not unusual for people to ask ME to tell them a story…something that had happened in my community. But, he was going to tell me HIS story. George was calling to see how he could help my “kids”. He had gotten a significant bonus and wanted to share it. After giving George the name and address of Commonwealth Chapel, he promptly wrote a check to my church, designating it to m2h (Miss Marti’s House). He had remembered hearing my story about the kids at one of our company gatherings and wanted to give back. I was really shocked, surprised yet grateful, because I, for the life of me, could NOT remember who he was.
Months go by and it was time for me to attend a regular dinner meeting for work, where lots of people come from all over. Work was demanding my attention that evening and I ran a little late, so I stood at the door waiting for the opening remarks to conclude and checking out the full room for empty seats. After quietly slipping in and dinner started, I met the people around me. Go figure…who did I sit next to, but GEORGE! It was crazy…in a good kind of way. We continued our conversation from the previous phone call.
I confessed that I was embarrassed to admit that I had NO remembrance of meeting him or telling him about my kids, as I attended many corporate functions. George then said, Marti…you shouldn’t feel embarrassed. I am the embarrassed one. After we figured out where we had been and who we had been with, he stated…that he had WAY too much to drink that night and could remember very little from the evening. Very little except meeting me and hearing about what I was doing in SBH. At work, I couldn’t actually say…How God was moving in SBH, but that is what I alluded to when I talked about my calling.
George went home, touched by what he had heard and decided to give back to the community. He started to volunteer and give of his time, but soon realized that this wasn’t what he thought he should be doing. He then felt called to go back to church and went to Mass for the first time in years…or decades. George picked up the Word and it leapt off the page. At one point it felt like he was being literally pushed in the middle of his back…to go and do something. Being pressed so hard in the back that he turned around to see who was pushing him, and no one was there.
George felt this overwhelming urge to give of his finances and that is when he called me. The timing could NOT have been more right. The youth group was planning their first youth retreat and my kids couldn’t afford to go. But, the money that George provided was the PERFECT amount to cover every kid! Only GOD can provide like that. I’m so thankful for George and his timely provisions that came several more times after that. May God richly bless him for his generosity and obedience.
This wasn’t the only time that God was at work on my job. There have been so many times when I ran into people “for such a time as this”…where I could encourage and bring hope. I can think of distinct times on flights, in the lunchroom, on the phone, and outside a courtroom. Work isn’t the easiest place to openly share your faith, for fear of being accused of religious discrimination. I was faced with that at least once and again, it was unfounded.
I don’t push my faith on others, but it IS a part of my life. So, when people ask why I wasn’t moving to StL or why I lived where I did, I can tell them. It was great to have like-minded colleagues to talk to at a time when the market was crashing, financial companies were folding, and times were scary for many people. But we knew…Who sat on THE throne.
I am reminded that we ALL need Jesus! Regardless of what our status is in life. I realized that I had (or have) 2 mission fields…at home in SBH and at work (until further notice, anyway!). Both…the spiritual “least of these”.
In addition, I learned that if God can use a snake, a donkey, a burning bush….He can certainly use ME! I just have to be open…and willing…to be used. There really seems to be a theme in the posts, doesn’t it?
Do you recognize any other themes I might be missing? And…what themes do you track in your OWN life? Is God trying to tell you anything?
Forgive Me…Posted: Monday, February 22, 2010 Filed under: 2k5 and before | Tags: Commonwealth Chapel, cross, Jesus, mission, obedience, prayer, Richmond, scripture 2 Comments
6 Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and revering him. 7 For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; 8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
I went on to work on that 2nd day of praying in Jesus name over my singleness. Within just a couple of hours…my phone rang. A colleague of mine, Steve, called to ask me if I wouldn’t mind hanging out with a friend of his, Kevin. Kevin just happened to be coming to town from the West Coast. Steve and his wife had plans that had them tied up on Friday night, that would leave Kevin alone for the evening. So, he wanted me to go to dinner with him so that he wouldn’t have to hang out in the hotel by himself. Needless to say…I stopped and literally looked at the phone…and said, ‘did God just answer my prayer in a matter of hours?’ Why is it that I, and maybe you to, find it surprising that God answers our prayers? Shouldn’t we expect the answer to our prayers?
After being in shock (and scared to death!!!) for a few days, I finally gave in to Steve…and to God. I picked up Kevin at the hotel (another funny…but long story…). Because I hadn’t gotten to go home yet, I asked Kevin if he minded if we stopped by my house so that I could freshen up. We walked into my house, where I had a wall of crosses on the left inside the front door (so they wouldn’t be missed). The wall of crosses started as a small collection representing each member of my family. I understand that it is a Latin American tradition. It has now grown to a wall of about 40 crosses of different sizes and materials. Kevin was captivated by it. I could tell that this was a God moment, as Kevin was literally drawn to the wall and proceeded to take them in. I said a quick silent prayer and left Kevin alone…with God and the crosses, and went upstairs to change and freshen up.
Kevin later described his moment as ‘holy’ and ‘warm’. We had a great conversation about the wall, its meaning, and its impact. He shared his favorite with me…and how it reminded him of Peter or one of the other disciples crafting it while sitting on a hill listening to the word of Jesus. He then shared his ‘life scripture’ with me….Deuteronomy 8. Kevin owns his own company…where times have been good and bad. But, regardless of the time, God is always faithful. These are notes from my journal… “God is bringing you into a good land where you will lack nothing. Praise the Lord for the good land. Do not forget the Lord or stop following His commandments. Do not become proud. Remember the Lord who provided this, gave you the ability to do this – produce wealth . Remember the Lord, your God, or face destruction.”
I meditated on this Word every day for the next week or so when I received a sizable amount of money that I was not expecting. I was totally shocked! What was I going to do with this money? I wanted a fence. I wanted a shed. I wanted a new car. (almost NEEDED a new car). But, I knew I needed to be sacrificial with the money.
After giving money to some needs in my family, I also wrote Rob (remember Rob….my pastor at the new church?) to let him know that I was going to be giving a ‘chunk of change’ to my church. Didn’t care what it went to, as I trusted him and our board, but I just felt led that day at that exact moment to let him know..as it was about a month later. I felt like there was more to the story. God was up to something! Because I was overwhelmed with the need to e-mail Robby on that Thursday even though it was his day off.
Rob e-mailed the next day following a church planning meeting. Later, at Starbucks, Rob shared that there had been a struggle between a list of projects/ministries they felt we were being led to do in 2006 and the budget…the fine line between faith and using the common sense that God gave us. God has used me (and Kevin…and Steve…and the provider of the money) to send a message to our church leadership….not that my money would solve the problem because it wasn’t THAT much!!!…but, to let them know that God would provide and to walk in faith.
When you take God seriously in your life…as a living sacrifice…He will use you. Hold on!!! Praise the Lord! As my friend Marcus taught me…”Hold my rope while I shout!”-Shirley Ceasar. My encouragement to you….when you take God seriously and read and meditate on the Word, expect God to use you….and be obedient to that which he asks – be ready! I often wonder…did these moments happen in the past? Did I miss them? How many God-moments had I missed in my life? How many times had I ignored what He asked me to do? What would have happened if at any point one of us didn’t do what He asked us to do?
Lord…forgive me for the many God-moments I have missed and for the many times that I haven’t been obedient!
Friends, co-workers, strangers, etc…forgive me…for not always being obedient to what God has asked me to do.
I pray that He will give me another chance to be obedient again…for each time I have missed. And I pray…that I don’t miss them again.