You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day, after the music fades and our cars leave the parking lot, pieces of the message tend to fade, too; somewhere along the way, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

So follow along each Monday as we seek to integrate that Truth into our daily lives; leave your thoughts in the comments below or send an email if you’d like to share your own story from The Monday After. 

The Monday After: Sunday, October 7, 2012: Living a Generous Life: Living with the Benjamins

By Anita Everly

I was cutting up my Wendy’s salad as I felt her hovering beside our table, so I buried my eyes into the romaine and apple chunks hoping she would move on.

Sure enough, she began to speak just as I looked up at her full, young face and disheveled hair that was pulled back on the sides. My eyes settled on the belly of her stained shirt where she held something in her hands.

“Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t mean to bother you,” she began in a simple, unsophisticated voice; I just knew what she was going to say. I knew she wanted us to buy something, and I just don’t buy fundraisers in the middle of Wendy’s, but as I formulated my pleasant, “No thank you,” she continued.

“I was wondering if your boys would like these coupons for a free Frosty?”

“Oh, my goodness! Oh, that is so very kind of you! Why, yes, thank you!” I gushed, astounded. “Boys, what do you say?”

“Thank you!” they sang in unison.

“You’re welcome! I just thought your boys might like them. Enjoy!” she said as she walked away, a wide smile beaming across her face.

I sat staring at the two Frosty coupons stunned and ashamed. Here this tender-hearted young woman saw my family and decided to bless us with free coupons, which she clearly found great joy in doing.

But before she barely had her words out, I had already made the assumption that she was going to ask for something and had closed my heart, mind and pocketbook to her request.

By appearances it seemed she had less than we did; yet she was giving out of the generosity of her heart.

The Frosty coupons captured my attention for the remainder of my meal as I let what had happened soak deep into my heart. The red-lettered words from Matthew 25:40 entered my mind:’

“’Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

But what happens when the one who appears to be “one of the least of these” does something to bless your family?

Well, you quickly realize that the truth is upside down from what you thought.

I realized I was the “least of these” as my stingy heart was more concerned with holding on to whatever was in my wallet for the needs of our family than releasing it for a good cause or to surprisingly bless someone else.

She stood there with open hands filled and overflowing to bless us, complete strangers.

I’ve thought a lot about the Frosty girl in the last week and how I want to be more like her.

This week, I will be pondering the words in 1 Timothy 6:18: “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

I have had a death grip on any money that is not already accounted for in our prescribed giving each month. I need to be “generous and willing to share.”

The money is not mine anyway.

My treasures cannot be wrapped up in the eternal if they are bolted under lock and key, only selectively released into the Kingdom. Therefore, my heart has to change so that its default results in an open hand rather than a closed fist.

I need to learn to operate out of faith rather than fear—with every penny.

With my attention to small steps of obedience, I know the Lord will replace my selfishness with generosity.

I’m tuning in this week. I know He will provide me with opportunities to show my heart change and I pray that I will grow to be an audacious giver, generous in spirit and action.

Frosty, anyone?

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

4 thoughts on “The Monday After: Living a Generous Life: Living with the Benjamins {Anita}

  1. Wow! Thanks for your generosity in being willing to share this story with the rest of us. I have a feeling it will be top-of-the-mind for quite some time, especially whenever I drive by a Wendy’s.

  2. I, too, have had a change of heart concerning my finances and my ability to help others. Once, I was approached by a woman who was panhandling. Although I don’t usually carry cash on me, I had a few dollars in my pocket. My first response was thinking about how this woman would spend it….drugs? alcohol?. Then, the Lord impressed on me that I was not to question those things….I was just to give. Never in scripture have I read that Jesus questioned people’s motives….he just healed. He just fed. He just comforted. So, I follow His example and “just do it”. I was able to offer a few dollars and share the love of Jesus with this woman. God is so good to me, even when I don’t deserve it….especially when I don’t deserve it!! Ah, grace! Where would I be without it?! Praise the Lord!!

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