An anonymous donor whose giving lifted her out of depression earlier this year shared her joy of giving with her brothers and sisters at Severna Park United Methodist Church in Maryland just before Christmas, when she gave them $10,000 worth of $100 bills. Her generosity was completely unexpected. But it is what came next that was the most stunning part of the story.
Church members who accepted the donor’s gift did so on one condition. They had to agree to do one good deed for members of the local Severna Park community, such as purchasing socks for a cancer patient, gifts for homeless children, or just helping cash-strapped strangers, the church’s pastor, Rev. Ron Foster, told The Washington Post.
“Listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading you,” he told his congregation before entrusting 100 of his congregants with a $100 bill. “Listen to the need that’s around you, that you find in the community. You may be in the right place at the right time to help somebody, because you now have this in your hand.”
The donor, who requested that her name not be published, said she wanted to share the gift of giving because of what giving did for her when she became depressed over the death of a friend this past summer. Another friend gave her a gift that lifted her spirits when she shared it with others; she felt led by God to do the same for 100 fellow church members.
She said she learned of other churches which had done similar giving acts and approached Foster about making it happen at Saverna Park. Once they worked out the logistics they decided that they would give $100 to every member who wanted to participate in the giving spree on the first Sunday of Advent.
“People have been so thoughtful. The money has just multiplied and blossomed and gone out,” Foster said of the results. “There’s been so much joy and excitement just spilling over.”
One congregant wrote on the church’s blog page, “What was the coolest thing to me was how I was on ‘high alert’ all week, looking for people or opportunities to help. That was a great lesson. I think we should always be in that mode, always on the lookout for who God may place in our path, and for things He calls us to do. I am going to strive to be in that spirit more and more, to have eyes to see people’s needs more routinely, and to help in any way I can.”
About the Author
Leonardo Blair writes for The Christian Post.