Acts 1:8 (NIV)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Today’s Holy Spirit story comes to us from Joe Berkley. It’s another one revealing to us the supernatural in the ordinary. As we come into the holiday season, this story will encourage us to be aware and attuned to people around us whose needs may not be immediately apparent. I’ve said it before—food pantries are good, but person-to-person and family-to-family giving is better. People need aid, but more than aid they need relationships. When direct aid can come through personal relationships, the kingdom of God comes near. Read the story below in Joe’s own words and if you listen you will hear it in his own voice.
I was employed at the United States Post Office in a large city. I worked alongside a Christian friend who had a rather large family. John (not his real name) and his wife, Patty (not her real name), just had a baby, bringing the total number of children in their household to nine. I related to this situation since I was raised in a family of ten children, although one brother died at an early age.
John and I did Bible study together during our lunch period and it was an especially fulfilling part of my life. I was active in my church, but I was not yet involved in formal ministry. John and I would invite others to join us for Bible study and our group grew for a little while but more often than not it was just the two of us. At the end of each study, we shared our concerns and prayed for each other. Without being more specific, John would always ask me to pray for his family’s provision and protection.
One day, after John asked for his prayer, I felt the urging of the Holy Spirit to call my wife, Stella, and ask her to go to the store and purchase $100 worth of groceries for us to take to John and Patty. Well, the Holy Spirit didn’t just speak to me, he also spoke to my wife while she was shopping. She told me later that $100 worth of groceries looked like too meager of an amount for such a large family. She spent a little more than $200.
When I got home, we loaded all the groceries in the trunk of our car and drove to John and Patty’s home. I was glad to see their car in the driveway because that meant they were home. I was a little nervous as I knocked on the door, I didn’t want to hurt John’s pride by offering an unnecessary gift. When John came to the door, I said, “John, we are not here to embarrass you and Patty, we are just trying to be faithful to the urging of the Holy Spirit on our lives.” I asked him and Patty to come to our car and then I opened the trunk. “These groceries are a gift to you and your family from the Holy Spirit,” I said.
John and Patty embraced in tears. They asked us to come inside, and they told their children to unload the trunk of our car. John took me into the kitchen and opened their pantry door. “This single bag of rice is all we have in this house to eat,” John said. “We have already exhausted our opportunities with the local food pantries, and it is still five days before payday. Thank you.” John and I embraced, and Patty and Stella embraced. Then we sat back to watch as the kids excitedly unloaded the groceries and put them away. Their pantry was stocked full.
As we got ready to leave, all of the children came and gave us hugs, real Holy Spirit hugs. When we left the whole family stood in the front yard to wave until we were out of sight. I had difficulty driving at first because of the tears of joy in my eyes. The same tears I experience each time I tell this story because the Holy Spirit used even me as his hands of provision for a family in need.
Abba Father! Thank you for this story of friendship, compassion, and supernatural provision. Thank you for the portrait of love we can see through the eyes of our hearts as we behold these families’ embrace. Thank you for the way it shows us in the most sublime way that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit—and yes, eating and drinking too in this case. As we enter into the holiday season, open up new wells of generosity in our hearts; extravagant generosity, even unreasonable generosity. Take this story now, as a witness of your kingdom, and let it travel as far as the grace of God will go. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.
How are you challenged and encouraged by today’s story? On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is highest) where would you rate your sense of generosity? Are you ready to go to the next level? What might that mean?
Today let’s sing our Saturday song, “Sanctuary.” Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you. Such a profound prayer of consecration. This is our story, dear friends. This is our song.
For the Awakening,
P.S. Holy Spirit Stories Welcome
I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. A word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but we assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me.