On Dec. 10, Oak Ridge Baptist Church in Portland asked its members to do something special — take money from the church. In what was called the Christmas Give Out, $2,008 dollars were divided into envelopes for every church member older than 13. Some envelopes contained $10, some $20, some $50, some $11. Members were asked not to give the money back to the church budget, but bless others with it.
It appears the members are doing just that. The congregation is posting stories of how the money blessed others on its web site. Here’s one that I found particularly touching.
INJURED ON THE JOB
Sunday that the church voted to give money out I knew where mine was going, at least I thought I knew. Tuesday the 9th I received a call from an acquaintance I haven’t heard from or seen in a long time. He explained to me that he had been injured on the job and hated to call and ask for help but he was desperate. He was living in an apartment with his wife and 3-year old adopted boy. He had taken his 401K and bought a house (fixer upper) with the intentions of moving in and fixing it up. In between purchasing the house and moving in he was injured at work and no longer able to work. He has been on workman’s comp ever sense. He said the house needed some electrical and plumbing work done on it. I told him I would pray about it and pray for him.
I called him Sunday afternoon after the give out and arranged to pick him up so we could go look at the house. After assessing the building it was plain to me the house wasn’t worth saving. The structure wasn’t sound and wood rot prevailed. We stood out in the front yard and talked for quite some time as I heard the rest of the story. All the time I’m praying that God will give me the words as I try to tell him the house needs to go.
He went on to tell me that he bought the house because it was the house that their adopted son had lived in. He went on to say that they had been doing all right until his compensation had been reduced by $900.00 per month and he still made to much to get Medicare. His wife is on some rather expensive medication that eats up most of the money. He had called Habitat for Humanity but they offered no help. I know he must be thinking there is an Extreme makeover out there for him somewhere. I managed to diplomatically tell him the house would be better off razed and starting over. I suggested a modular home and he started agreeing after I pointed out it would be better to put any additional money into a new home instead of this old house.
We headed back to his apartment and he told me that they would not be able to have Christmas this year and couldn’t even afford a tree. He said it wouldn’t be that big of a deal since his son is only three he wouldn’t know the difference. My ride home was full of conversation. I have young grandkids about that same age and I know they understand Christmas at least the excitement and gifts. I went home took down my tree and boxed it up.
Today at lunch I delivered the tree and the give out money with a little extra I added for gifts to put under the tree. When he saw the tree he was overcome and hugged me with tears in his eyes. He said he couldn’t imagine a better Christmas than this. He went on to say that the word Christmas came up in conversation yesterday and his three year old went crazy and started yelling about gifts and Santa. He thought to himself I guess he does know more about what’s gong on and was wondering what he was going to do. He thanked me over and over again and I told him to thank God because he is the one that told me to bring the tree and the money to him.
As I drove off he was beaming from ear to ear, as he realized God had not forgotten him or his family. Shortly afterwards I received a phone call from his wife and through the crying I understood how grateful she was and that this had not only made their Christmas but also their year. I’m confident this was a high light of their year and this was purely of God. I thank God he allows me to be in the midst of His blessing others that I didn’t even know needed blessing. God is good.