Some people say that money talks.
I have to say that I sort of agree.
Sometimes our money says “Hold me tighter!” Other times, it says “Me, me, me, it’s all about me.” Sometimes it sounds like the old NSync song… “Bye, bye, bye.”
But last Thursday, our little wad of money said “God is love. Give me away.”
My beloved and I participated in our first official “Factor of 7” love movement. Here’s how things went down.
It is pretty simple, actually. Brandon was preparing to go to Ranger School, so one thing our our list was to do our inaugural Factor of 7 act before his departure. We headed to the bank last Thursday, drove up to the window and withdrew $107 from our checking account.
I put it in an envelope that had the following words written on it:
Right behind the bank was a Winn-Dixie grocery store. I had been praying about this for a few days, and God revealed to me that a grocery store in lower-income section of town was a good place to start.
We parked the car in the grocery store lot, held hands and prayed for what we were about to do. Boldly (ok, slightly nervously), I got out of the car, grabbed the envelope and my husband’s hand… off we went.
We made a quick partial lap around the outer sections of the store… Past the frozen foods and dairy, beyond the seafood, through the bakery and emerged near the produce before we spotted her.
She was wearing blue scrub pants, a dark jacket and a stocking cap, browsing the coffee aisle. Brandon squeezed my hand and said, “How bout her?”
Gulp. Here we go.
We approached her and explained that we wanted to help her pay for her groceries. I told her that there was $107 enclosed in the envelope. I shared with her that the 7 dollars represented that we all have 7 days time a week to live for Him, and 100 dollars because God loved her 100 times more than she could imagine. Her eyes got wide and filled with gratitude-ish tears. She kept saying “God bless you, praise Jesus” (or something like that… my mind was a little blurry cause the Holy Spirit was so intense.) We talked for just a few seconds. She told us her name was Joyce and gave us both big hugs.
We asked how we could pray for her. And we departed.
Easy as that.
Yes, I would like to think that our actions brought some Joy to Joyce. (Hey, if someone walked up to me with an $107, I would probably pee down my leg. Heck, I would be excited about $7. <can you say “pee down your leg?” in a Christian blog?>) So yes, I hope it blessed Joyce. But, as usual, God had more plans. I have thought about that moment every couple of hours since it happened. And it probably blessed us more than her.
I was feeling a little uneasy about my husband leaving, an ache that I knew only God could fill. Guess what? By giving our hearts to Joyce, God filled that gap. I was fulfilled. By Him. We were immediately strengthened for the separation ahead of us. It. Was. Awesome.
I can’t wait til next month when I get to do it again. (Although this time I will be flying solo.) Oh, and please know that I don’t tell this story to get all self-righteous, bragging about how “great” we are in a legalistic sense. My fleshy side of me would have loved to hold onto that 107 bucks. But God told us otherwise. That said, I invite you to join us. Get creative. There are no rules to this movement. You can use money. You can use your baking skills. You can use your ability to pray. (Check out the Factor of 7 tab for more ideas/guidance.) Heaven is the limit! Bring the joy!
Pay for someone else’s lunch, groceries or gasoline. Ask a stranger how you can pray for them. Look into your life to see how God has blessed you– and pay it forward! We added some Joy to Joyce’s life… But God gave us ten times more joy, strength and hope through our simple attempt of loving a random “neighbor” and a tiny act of obedience.
Join our Factor of 7 experience. If you do, please share how the story blessed you by commenting below. Believe me… God will not let you down!!
Receiving through giving,
“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.” –Philippians 4:19 (MSG)