God's Grace for Good Works
I can recall a time when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico I fell upon hard times. For years, I had worked two full-time jobs but due to my reckless lifestyle I lost both jobs and was basically left with nothing. Fortunately, I was able to collect unemployment from one job but the was was not sufficient to pay all my bills. I was reduced to applying for food stamps.
Accepting food stamps crushed my pride and really humbled me. But I realized I was actually blessed because my friend, who was on Social Security Supplimental Income, also known as SSI, had two daughters she was raising alone and yet, she only qualified for $75.00 monthly in food stamp benefits wheresas, I, living alone, qualified for $138.00. So instead of feeling ashamed, I greatly thanked God for the abundant blessing.
For the first 2 1/2 months, I used all my benefits to stock up my cabinets, my freezer and my refrigerator with food., Daily, I thanked the Lord for the food I had to eat. But by the end of the third month, with the kitchen overflowing with food, I still had funds left over which would roll over into the next month. By now, I only used the funds to buy little commodities. i.e. milk, eggs, bread, etc.
By the 5th month, I had more than enough for myself in my account. I read an article in the newspaper that a food bank was seeking donations due to the rise in families needing help. I had to pray hard on this because when you are accepting food stamps, the funds are only to be used by whoever's name is on the application, which at this time was only myself. But I felt the need to help so, at this particular time, one of the grocery stores was having a caseload sale. I went to the store and I purchased a few cases of canned vegetables, cereals, soups, flour, noodles, spaghetti sauce, etc. Then I drove to the food bank to deliver the merchandise.
At the food bank, as they were helping me unload my car, they asked what organization I was with and when I responded, "None. This is just coming from me." They looked at me with amazement.
After unloading my car, as I drove off, I had this overwhelming sense of joy, happiness, peace and calm all at the same time. I couldn't help but smile and thank God for His grace in allowing me to do such a charitable act.
By the next month, I was blessed with a very good job that paid very well and had great benefits. I called the welfare office and told them I was now employed and they could discontinue my benefits, in which they closed my case.
I feel so honored that God called me to do His work. I could have easily hoarded the food benefits. But once I was sufficiently supplied with all the food I used the extra funds to help others who were less fortunate and in a bind such as myself. I truly believe God blessed me with the benefits and after I had enough He placed others in my life so I was able to help them also.
Having the ability to bless, not just one, many strangers gave me such a wonderful feeling. When you help a friend or even a family member it doesn't give as much joy because it seems more like an obligation. I would have to say that, before taking care of my deaf nephew, it has been my ultimate blissful moment.
I have Spiritually matured in the knowledge of how God can use me. He has shown me that He abundantly blessed me because He knew my heart. He knew I would not be selfish with the funds and that I would share my blessings to bless others who needed it so badly. And the best thing is ... to this day, He continues to abundantly bless me so that I am able to bless others --- all for HIS honor and glory.
2 Corinthians 8:2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. (NLT)
~ One Love ~