Last Christmas season, I wanted to teach my three kids more about giving. So, we decided to bless three strangers at Walmart with a unexpected gift card.
The four of us headed out to Walmart in our white mini-van for our mission. The kids were not very excited about it. They couldn't understand why we would just give a random person a gift card. Oh, how this lesson was so needed!
In their minds, it seemed odd and besides...What would the strangers think about it?
When we do something out of the norm, many people may not understand. But, not understanding doesn't negate the purpose or effectiveness. Nothing is normal until it becomes the norm.
We bought our gift cards and we looked to see who our first recipient would be.
There was an lady standing in line. She was probably about fifty years old. We went up behind her and began small talk. She was very pleasant. She placed her items on the belt and the cashier rang everything up. Then, before she paid, my children watched as I gave her the gift card. (They were being too shy to give it to her at the time, even though they really aren't shy!)
Her reaction surprised me.
I have to tell you all three reactions were completely different and it was very interesting to observe people's reactions.
The first lady was thankful, but was going to refuse the gift card. She said that someone else needed it more than she did.
The second lady was extremely thankful and even ran up to us again and hugged me with tears in her eyes and said, "Thank you so much. This was such a blessing!"
The third person looked confused and didn't quite seem to understand what was happening. This person was baffled why anyone would just give them something.
These three very different reactions reminded me of how often we view blessings from the Lord, or even how some perceive the gospel of Christ.
People may react in one of these three ways when hearing the message of the gospel or in response to God's blessings in their lives.
1. "Someone else needs this blessing more than I do." This can be false humility. Maybe someone does need it more than you, but if God is giving it to you, receive it!
I didn't share the end of what happened with the first lady. I have to say that it did not bless me for her to decline. It almost offended me. I insisted she keep it, and that it was hers to do whatever she wished with and that if she didn't want to keep it, she could pass it on and bless someone else with it.
Receive His blessings and then ask how He would have you bless others. But please don't decline what the Lord gives you.
2. True Thankfulness and Response. The second reaction is the one I think blesses the Lord the most! It blessed us the most! This lady was truly thankful and openly showed her thankfulness!
3. "I don't deserve blessings." The third person didn't know how to respond to this free gift. I think they thought surely this isn't free, nothing is ever free. It seemed they had lived a hard life and could not understand why someone would just be kind to them.
Jesus came and died to give us the free gift of salvation, there is nothing we can do to earn this gift. No, we don't deserve it, but God loved us so much that He paid a hefty price so we could receive this gift.
Again, like lady #2, true thankfulness and gratitude with proper humility is the appropriate response to every gift the Lord gives.
My kids also learned a good lesson through this experiment/mission. They learned that giving is fun and they too were the most blessed with the response of lady #2.
May we all respond like lady #2 to everything the Lord desires to give us...with an open heart and thankfulness!
"To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever." Psalm 30:12
"Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men." Psalm 107:31
"And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins." Romans 5:16
Lessons Learned at Walmart
I Have Learned...
If You Teach it You will be Tested