Buy One, Get One Free!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
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Philippians 4:19 – You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. (MSG)

A few years ago, I opened a home for boys. In faith, I had left a full-time youth ministry to give the young men whom God would send into my life a chance to look at their choices and the consequences of their choices, and to give them an opportunity to change the choices and the consequences in a caring, Christ-centred environment.

There were times I was unsure how I was going to feed six teenaged young men with hollow legs. Then God sent Mr. McGregor into our lives. He had seen an article in the newspaper about 5 C Haven, and he asked to come for a visit. I invited him to come on a Wednesday night, because that was regularly spaghetti night, and there was always room to feed one more on that night. After the meal, he asked to speak to me about something that had been on his mind since he read the article. We went into my office, and he shared how he wished he had a lot of money to give me, but he did not. One thing he could do for 5 C Haven, though, was that when he went shopping to stores that had a "buy one, get one free" sale advertisement, he could purchase the items. He said, "Now being Scottish, I can not give you the free one, but I can give you the one I purchase."

I agreed he could do this, and he did. About every other week, or maybe once a month, there would be a box from Mr. McGregor on our back porch. He also went and shared with the other widowers he knew about 5 C Haven, and they decided to do the same thing. Oh how the young men in the house would fight over the boxes when they would appear — to see what we would have for meals in the weeks ahead!

Unfortunately, 5 C Haven closed its doors a few years ago, but I thank God for bringing a Scottish widower and his friends into my life to give me their purchased items while they enjoyed the free ones. Now I follow their example when I go to a store that has a similar deal, and our local food pantry benefits from the choice he made to help God change the lives of young men. Is there a food bank or foster home in the area for which we could be the instrument of God's grace by being supportive?

Matthew 25:37-40 – Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?" And the king will answer them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me." (NRSV)

Prayer: Dear God, on this day, we do thank You that You choose to work in wonderful and mysterious ways to help others whom You send us in our journeys of faith. Open our eyes to opportunities to reach out and minister to the needs of others as we go about our daily routines. May we be open to seeing avenues of helping others, as You desire us to do. Amen.

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About the author:

Russ Chamberlain
New Bedford, Massachusetts, USA

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