“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
This verse in the Bible, found in Matthew 22:36-39, serves as the foundation for an event that the Fuel ministry has done a couple of times here in our community. Fuel is a ministry to college students that meets on Sunday evenings. Usually about 300-400 college students gather each Sunday evening for worship and teaching. My son, Evan, is on the staff of Fuel and has participated in two “As Yourself” nights over the past year.
“As Yourself” was created out of the above verse. The idea is that the church gathers on an evening and breaks into small groups of 4 to 8 people. Those 4 to 8 people pool their financial resources—they are asked to bring a financial gift that is sacrifical in some way (maybe going without Starbucks for a month and setting the money you would spend on specialty coffee aside for this special evening.)
The groups then fan out into the community asking God who they are to bless and following God’s promptings throughout the evening. The results have been incredible—let me share some of the God stories that have happened both last fall and again tonight when they had another “As Yourself” evening:
1) A woman was being checked out at Walmart. A group walked up to her and told her they wanted to pay for her groceries. She couldn’t believe it, but they insisted. After paying for her groceries, she told them that that day was the 5 year anniversary of the death of her teenage son in a traffic accident. It had been a hard day and she felt their gift was a reassurance that God cared about her on such a hard day. Go God!
2) One group walked into the local IHOP restaurant. Once they were seated, the waitress walked up to take their order. They told her that they didn’t come to order, but rather to bless her. Then they handed her $30 and asked if they could pray for her. She agreed and then they group hugged and left. Our daughter Erica is a friend of this unassuming waitress who was in tears after the blessing she received. She told Erica, “This makes me want to go to church.” Erica invited her to go to Fuel in the next few weeks and they made arrangements to go together. Go God!
3) Evan and one guy felt led to go to a gas station. They waited for some time before a vehicle actually pulled in. But instead of pulling up to the pumps, the full-sized van pulled up to the convenience mart and a bunch of big guys piled out to run in and buy some cigarettes. Evan’s buddy said, “I’m not waiting…let’s go.”
The guys walked into the convenience store and said, “Hey, who’s van is that?” “Mine,” said one of the big guys. “Do you have a problem with it?”
Evan and his friend responded with, “Actually, I’d like to pay for your gas, if you need some.” “Yeah right,” responded the big guy. “No, seriously,” Evan and his friend responded. After a brief conversation where the boys explained that God has blessed their life and they just want to pass the blessing along, the big guys pulled their van up to the pump and got their free fill-up.
The other van guys kept saying they were all going to go home and get their cars so they could get a fill-up. Evan and his friend hung around for a little while longer waiting for another vehicle to come along. Several minutes later one of the van guys pulled up in a car and walked over to Evan and his friend. They asked if he wanted a tank of gas and he said, “No, I came to talk to you.”
He continued with, “Tonight I was going to go do something that would most likely land me back in jail. In fact, I was on my way to do that when we ran into you guys here at the gas station. But after I saw what you guys did tonight, I’ve changed my mind. You’ve reminded me that there’s still good in this world and I’ve reconsidered. I just wanted you to know.” Go God! Go God! Go God!
There’s such power in kindness! Our actions make such a difference. I don’t know about you, but this is so challenging to me. What can you and I do to be a bright light in a dark world? Let’s each commit to do something to bless someone else this week!
Want regular encouragement?
Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.