Opportunities are knocking, so answer already

The word opportunity has been popping up everywhere I turn and it wasn’t until last week that I had a revelation about opportunities that each one of us can take advantage of.

In spite of the fact that the economy is slumping and jobs are scarce. Regardless of the fact that we can’t afford to purchase “big ticket” items and that we may be struggling just to meet our own monthly financial obligations doesn’t mean that we can’t help someone else. In return, we will receive blessings that are indescribable.

I recently spoke to Rick McCarty, owner of Grace and Mercy Outreach, in Amelia and experienced first-hand how the concept of giving and receiving is working in his neighborhood.

One of the things that he noticed in his ministry is that those who come to Grace and Mercy to receive often want to bless others by giving. That is a well-known Christian concept. The Bible tells us that we have received freely and as a result we are to give freely. God has given us salvation through Jesus Christ and believers will inherit eternal life as a result of that gift. Once we receive that gift, it is up to us to share that gift with others so they can inherit eternal life also.

Rick has the idea that if everyone in Clermont County would give just $1 a week or one food item a week to someone in need, there wouldn’t be any unmet needs in the county. That just seems like such a simple principle. Could it really work?

Once again I look to the Bible for an answer and there it is in John 6:9. We hear Jesus’ disciple Peter asking him a question about how the disciples can possibly feed 5,000 people. “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Not only did those five loaves and two fish feed more than 5,000 people, but there were 12 baskets full of leftovers when all was said and done.

The Bible doesn’t really explain how this could happen, but I remember as a child asking my mom about it and her explanation is as good as any that I have ever heard. She told me that most of the people who were there probably had a little food tucked away for their families but did not have enough to feed other people. She said they probably didn’t want to eat what they had because others would see them. When they saw the generosity of the little boy wanting to share all he had and the faith of Jesus that it would be enough, they were willing to share what they had also. One act of generosity multiplied what was given and everyone was fed as a result.

I think the concept that Rick has about giving $1 a week could create the same type of miracle. He has seen it among the “working poor” who come to his shop for help. When they come and see that others have donated food, clothing and household items and that he is distributing them freely, they are often willing to do the same thing. Many of them will donate time to help in the store, others will pick up an item for a family member or a friend in need and the miracle of giving is multiplied.

This is not an advertisement for Grace and Mercy Outreach but an opportunity for everyone to find a way to give to someone in need. Give out of your poverty, give out of your meager earnings, give in spite of your own need and God will bless you and multiply your gifts in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine.