We all long to be inspired.
My favorite movies are the ones where I walk out with an uplifting sound track for my life, reassured that God is good and all things are possible. There really is still nobility and there are kingdom-bringers in the world. Think Shawshank and The Natural, and The Blindside.
So I loved it when we heard the story, years ago, of a friend of ours, John Dellenback, who was a congressman from Oregon. When he turned 81 he gathered his children and grandchildren together and gave each of them $81, instructing them to prayerfully invest it in a kingdom venture during the year and report back.
Sadly, John died before the his next birthday. At his funeral, each of his children and grandchildren came forward, one by one, telling what happened with their kingdom investments. Kingdom inspiration was part of his legacy.
I soaked up some inspiration this week, too, when I heard a similar story from our friend, Erik. Erik’s parents-in-law are also friends, and last Christmas they gave each of their grown children and spouses, a hundred dollar bill with the assignment to pray and be on the lookout for a place to invest it in something of the kingdom of God here on earth.
Over a year had passed and Erik still had the $100 in his wallet. This past week he was in San Francisco for a conference. San Francisco, where, it’s hard not to go a block without encountering a homeless person asking for help.
As Erik walked to and from meetings, he felt guilty, hearing Jesus whisper, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
After a sleepless night and further reminders about how Jesus, fully God, had become a servant to love others, he said to himself with conviction…”Today is the day I am going to give my $100. I’m going to give to the first person who asks!”
I’ll let him tell the rest in his own words…
I had a meeting with a potential client at 8 AM at a breakfast cafe. This was someone I’d never met, only spoke on the phone and someone I needed to impress.
I left my hotel at 7:30 to walk 6 blocks through Union Square Park where I anticipated passing people lying on the ground or holding a cup. Surprisingly I didn’t pass a single person fitting my “profile.”
At 8 AM, the client arrived, we ordered our breakfast and had just sat down to eat. Before I said more than five words a woman approached our table towards the back of the restaurant. She was clearly who God had sent. She was 40+, snarly short blond hair, wore a dirty jacket and didn’t have it together. Clearly embarrassed, she asked the man I was meeting with for $5 to go to Denny’s around the corner for breakfast. He said, “I’m sorry, ma’m but I can’t.”
She then looked at me and with emotion in her eyes said, “Please sir, can you help me out?” I got up, and motioned for her to walk with me outside.
As I reached into my pocket for the $100, I tried to say something, but before I could she said, “I know…Jesus loves me.” I nearly broke down. I pulled the money out of my pocket put it in her hand and said, “Yes, Jesus loves you!“
To confirm that God has a sense of humor, she looked in her hands and when she realized it was a $100 bill, look at me and said, “Holy S#@*T!” and gave me a huge hug.
I then turned and walked back into the restaurant now needing to explain myself to this guy I had just met. I told him about the kingdom challenge and that I had committed to giving my $100 to the first person who asked and apologized if I had embarrassed myself.
We had a great discussion and as we finished I went to the counter to get a refill on my coffee and he walked out the front door. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw him reaching out and giving money to a homeless man right then and there.
I smiled and thanked God for revealing Himself to me today. I don’t deserve to be loved so unconditionally, so gracefully forgiven and to be to so incredibly blessed.
I know…all kinds of “What if’s” and “Yeah, buts” may spring to mind as you read this.
But what if this was just about one person showing the lavish over-the-top abundance of the kingdom to someone in need? And another person being inspired to do the same.
When has God presented you with a “kingdom come” opportunity to be His hands and feet in the world? What’s inspired you lately?