Sorry I’ve been a slothful blogger lately… I’ve been super busy with work, church, family, traveling, working out and my top secret social experiment… I just haven’t had time for much else. I haven’t been to the grocery store in, well, honestly I haven’t been in about five months – as you all know I order my groceries online. But I haven’t even done that in six weeks, so I’m living on eggs and tuna. Yum yum.
Anyhow, with all that business, I’ve just been itching to tell you a really cool story that happened last Thursday. As you may know, I attend Gallery Church here in Manhattan. A couple of months ago, our pastor Aaron instituted Vision 2007, an ongoing effort for our church to reach out to the community and display God’s greatness to the city.
As part of Vision 2007, Gallery gave each person at church that night a $50 bill to use to bless someone. I was excited about the opportunity – with so many people in NYC, it should have been super easy to find someone with a need. Yet ever since that Sunday, I’d been agonizing over how to best use it. Weeks passed and I still hadn’t come across any worthy causes. I didn’t want to simply donate the money to an organization – I wanted it to be personal and impactful, plus I have a real soft-spot for mothers and families who have fallen on hard times and I had hoped to make a small difference in someone’s life that way. I didn’t just want to hand over a $50 bill to the homeless boozehound on the corner - I wanted to use the money thoughtfully. I kept praying for God to point me to someone who needed the money. But, I began to rationalize, “It’s not like He’s going to throw a needy person in my path.” As the deadline to submit our giving stories passed, the $50 sat unused in my wallet.
Fast forward from that Sunday to last Thursday afternoon. I was running errands on my lunch break, in a hurry like every day, passing every person on the sidewalk like I was on the walking Autobahn. I was jamming out to my iPod and weaving in and out of pedestrian traffic when I heard the tiniest little voice behind me – and I couldn’t make out what it had said. I usually ignore any distractions and keep on barreling down the sidewalk, and I shouldn’t have been able to hear the faint voice over my music. In spite of all that, I looked back over my left shoulder and there saw a woman walking with her arm around her son. We made eye contact and I realized she was calling out to me. In my haste just then, I was probably the least approachable person on the sidewalk, and yet she called out to me specifically and I heard her and stopped.
I put away my iPod and walked over to them. She said, “Ma’am, can you help us?” I asked what they needed. “We’ve been kicked out by our landlord and slept on the subway last night. We have nowhere to go, nowhere to turn. Is there any way you can help us get to a shelter in Queens?” They looked exhausted with dark circles under their eyes. I told them how I’d been praying for God to send me someone with a need so I could bless them with the money from my church. I asked if I could pray for them. She started crying. “You’re the first person today to even acknowledge us, and I know God sent you as the answer to our prayers,” she said. But really, they were the answer to my prayers!
So there I stood, hugging a stranger and her son, crying together outside of Rockefeller Center. We chatted a bit more, and their surprise at my giving them money was as palpable as my surprise that they stumbled directly into my path.
It was a tangible reminder that God will answer prayers very specifically, if you just ask. And just like I asked, He really did put a person-in-need literally in my path. What a wonderful opportunity to give and in turn feel like I was the recipient of something really awesome.