There was a Pastor of an Evangelical Church, who had received a burden for one of his members. He decided to pray and fast about how he could help this member, because he was very much in need, but it seemed there was more to it than was apparent.
One day, God told him to collect an offering for the man, without revealing his intentions. So before the service ended on that fated Sunday, the Pastor invited everyone to give a second offering as though they were lending to God, because "someone here really needs it".
Some people were skeptical, so refused to give. Others thought they were too broke to spare any more change. Still there were those who decided to trust the Pastor and give, believing it's all for God.
When the basket came to the man in need, his face was fallen. He hadn't given the first offering because all he had with him was his bus fare home. He didn't understand why the pastor was asking poor people to give! Shouldn't they give to him instead?! He had been asking for help since, as his daughter was very ill and he had recently been made redundant at work.
He passed the basket to his neighbour and turned to leave. The Church couldn't help him, he thought. His neighbour saw his plight and boldly asked: "Are you ok?"
"I'm not" he said. "All I have is my transport fare. I need help, too."
"If you give your transport fare, I'll drop you at home," his neighbour promised.
"Really?" He responded, surprised.
He quickly took out his N200 naira note and dropped it in the basket as it passed behind him. "Thanks!" he said, encouraged. He was actually short N100, and planned to beg after church to complete his fare.
After the baskets had been around, the Pastor made an announcement. "Our brother, Frank Udoh, is in much need right now. The Lord directed me to collect an offering on his behalf. Thank you for giving from your hearts! Frank, please come and collect the offering."
Frank was in shock! Everyone was looking at him and his neighbour began to clap. He stood up, as the whole church joined in clapping. As he went down to collect the offering, more people, who hadn't given, decided to give his their change too. When he got to the front of the Church, the Pastor gave him a hug!
"Well done for giving too. I know it was hard", he whispered into Frank's ear.
At that point, Frank started crying! He knew that he hadn't really given in faith, because his neighbour had prodded him and promised to help. He thought of all the reasons he had given for not giving to others who had begged from him before, and how close he was to missing out on his own blessing.
Frank took the time and shared his story and testimony. He confessed that he hadn't wanted to give and thanked all those who had faced the same battle and given anyway. As he spoke, more people came out to top up their offering or give for the first time.
Frank went home with N150,000, which helped with the hospital bill for his daughter, and gave him enough to start a small business for his family. He learnt a valuable lesson that day. He now understands the power of giving your last and trusting in God to provide.
We can also learn from his neighbour, how important it is to look out for one another and boldly reach out to others around us.
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