There is a constant struggle and tension in my life between following rules (I am a type-A person) and showing God’s grace and generosity.
At Sports Camp a couple weeks ago, I made enough snack portions for every child, student ministry helper and adult volunteer to have one portion. We then had a few extra in case we missed someone or the middle or high school students were still hungry.
Up walks a 4th grade boy who asks for more snack. I say, “Sorry, no, we don’t have enough extras for everyone.”
End of story.
Well…no, not end of story. My boss notices the interaction, offers a snack to the kid and reminds me that we need to be generous. I instantly get defensive. In my mind, I am in charge of snacks and I had already said no to a bunch of other kids. She continued on with reminding me that we represent a generous God and need to showcase that to these kids.
But what about not having enough extra snacks for everyone?
What about the other four kids I already told no before she saw this interaction and intervened?
How is that fair?
She is entirely right, but not just because she is my boss and I need to listen to and respect what she says. I represent a generous, caring Heavenly Father who would always give the extra snack. After all, Jesus fed the 10,000 because he knew those people could not focus and listen to His Truth on an empty stomach. Do I think that a 4th grade boy will hear God’s immeasurable love for him at Sports Camp if he is hungry? No!
Another area of my life where I am learning to practice generosity is my involvement with CarePortal.
CarePortal links the needs of families connected with the Department of Human Services with church members around El Paso County who can meet those needs. At Pulpit Rock Church alone (there are 17 churches locally responding), we have fulfilled 86 requests in less than a year. CarePortal estimates that Pulpit Rock attenders have given $47,569.63 of our own money and hundreds of hours to help single moms needing groceries, children needing beds, adults and teens needing bus passes, grandparents needing baby items, and so on.
The main reason I love being involved in this ministry is that I get to help with some of the requests myself and I get to see and practice generosity every single day. For starters, there is a generous couple in our congregation who has given me $3000 over the past 9 months to use at my and the staff’s discretion towards CarePortal requests. Other examples of God’s overly-giving nature is a Pulpit Rock Church are a realtor who gives me a portion of her commission on each sale of a house and a family who donated a substantial amount from an inheritance they received. But, open-handedness is not only shown in these sizable donations. It also shows up when a Pulpit Rock co-worker gives me $50 a month from her paycheck.
I often respond to requests that are children or teens who have been taken from their home due to abuse or neglect and have nothing in their possession when they arrive at a new home. They have amazing family or friends who can take them in, but do not have the budget to buy them all new clothes, bedding, toiletries, accessories and more groceries. This is where I step in with the money from others. I meet these kids and their caregivers at Walmart, give them a budget and have a blast getting to know them, their stories and their needs.
But, as we near the end of these shopping trips, I often feel like God is present but not showing His true colors of bounty and kindness. I ALWAYS offer the children and adults a candy bar, check-out aisle snack or McDonald’s (located in the store). I ALWAYS recognize that Jesus didn’t just meet physical needs (illness, people being hungry or thirsty, etc.), he spoke to people’s hearts.
Did you know you can speak directly to someone’s heart through a candy bar?
Nine times out of ten, this is the moment where I represent Christ and HIS generosity the most. If the people have gone over their designated budget or are near the edge of their allowable amount, I pull out my own cash and buy these last items to seal the deal that they are loved by their generous and powerful Creator.
I pray that I will always be looking for ways to show God’s generosity and won’t just splurge as He would when I am spending other people’s money while helping hurting and disadvantaged children.
Written by Kristina Wrobleski
Kristina is the Director of AWANA, the CarePortal Coordinator and Ministries Team Specialist