Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Angels Unaware - Food Pantry Inspires People in Community to Give

Today, Linda Hardin, our church secretary and food pantry ministry leader, wrote this about her experience in a checkout stand while buying groceries for our food pantry. Here is Linda's story:

"Angels unaware. Do you believe in them? I sure do. God sends people into our lives to help or encourage us. Many times it's family members or friends, but every once in a while a total stranger delivers a message straight from God. And it seems to happen at the most unexpected time or place.

That was my experience one day this week after work when I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some sale items for the food pantry. My basket was stocked to the top and so heavy that a young man at the store pushed it up to the checkout for me. It contained 48 cans of spaghetti sauce, 48 boxes of mac & cheese and 96 canned vegetables.

A lady behind me asked me if I was going to feed an army. As the checker counted and totaled, I took a minute to tell her about our food pantry and how one afternoon a week we give a bag of groceries to approximately 50-60 families.

She asked me the name of my church and where it was located. By this time the checker announced my total - $128. As I was digging in my purse for my ATM card, this stranger quickly stepped in front of me and swiped her card.

At first I didn't realize what happened and thought maybe she was cutting in line, but then it dawned on me - she paid my bill. She stepped right up and did a good deed, no a great deed! God touched this lady’s heart and she wanted to be a part of our ministry. I grabbed this total stranger and gave her the biggest hug ever and asked her name. Then I told her I would say a special prayer of thanksgiving for her and ask God to bless her life. So, thank you God for Stacey, my angel unaware."

Isn't this amazing? I have always said that often times the people we reach through acts of service and benevolence is not the people that we are serving, but others who are touched by these acts and who want to be a part of a church/community that serves others in this way. In fact, many church plants begin by going around and asking people in the community to donate food or clothing. Not only does it raise awareness of this church, but it gives people in the community a chance to be generous--which is part of being a disciple--and helping those who are in need.

Thank you, Linda, for sharing this. And praise God for his mighty works!

Have you had people in your community give in response to something that the church is doing?