I am honored to share the story of how I invested the $100 entrusted to me and the returns that I have already seen.
I don’t think I will ever forget that Sunday morning when Pastor Brian asked for volunteers at the start of the sermon. I knew that Highland Square was in the process of making some growth changes. I also knew that my wife and I would be moving out of state in a few weeks. But, I felt determined to give as much time and effort to the work as I could. So I had made up in my mind that I would volunteer even before he preached about using investing our time, our resources and our talents for the kingdom. When he announced that there was money in that envelope and not some chore that he needed done around the church, if I could have sat back down I probably would have. It wasn’t until the drive home and then over the next few days that I understand the basis for my reaction.
You see, what started as absolute dread about being put in charge of spending the church’s $100, turned into frank conviction that I have for several years now been responsible for spending much more than $100 of God’s money. At first I was so scared to invest the church’s $100 into something that wasn’t what God had clearly instructed or something ‘unworthy.’ And then I felt deep conviction for not always having the same cautious approach to how I routinely spend every paycheck.
Thus convicted, I had a new outlook and several great opportunities were readily apparent. It’s amazing what you see when you’re looking! About 3 weeks into the project with no clear direction as to what to do just yet, I felt the Holy Spirit lead me to reach out to a brother in El Salvador. I had met Carlos several years ago during a missions trip to El Salvador and we had stayed in touch via Facebook. In the interim, his father had been murdered by gang members and Carlos, despite his young age, had assumed the role of man of the house. He worked tirelessly to put his younger brother through school and to take care of his mother, all the while trusting in that God “shall provide all my needs according to His riches in glory.’ He faithfully attended church despite his long work hours and we would periodically check in and encourage each other from the Word. As I usually do, I asked Carlos how school was going and he confided that he had only just that day been praying about how he was going to afford his own tuition fees. He had enrolled himself in school towards the goal of making a better life for his family. The deadline for payment was only 4 days away.
Plain as day I saw the light. God wanted to bless and encourage this young man of faith by sending the answer to His prayer in the rough areas of El Salvador from a church in Akron, Ohio. I quickly told him all about the sermon and the challenge and how God had so orchestrated everything to meet his need right on time! He could hardly contain the praises! I sent the money down using Western Union and he was able to pay his tuition fees just in time.
This story has an after-lude. Just a few weeks later, I was having a really rough couple of days and out of the blue, Carlos messaged me in the middle of the day which is unusual because that’s when he’s usually busiest. When he asked me how I was doing I was honest and told him that I was feeling down about some things that were going on. Then, this young man, who has learned to live every day trusting in God to provide enough for his own needs and for those around him AND who had recently gotten an answer to prayer himself, offered to pray for me! My mood was instantly improved.
God gives to each of us the time, the talents and the resources that we need to make a difference in the lives of others. Even, when we don’t feel we have anything to give, if we determine to look we will find something. It doesn’t take much to change the course of someone’s day. Perhaps not much more to change the course of a life.
Many thanks to CCC for helping me live out this life lesson. I will never forget it. From Carlos, to all of you ‘muchisimas gracias!’
Antonio Howard | $100.00