Jonathan Carey, pastor of the Ellet Grace Brethren Church in Akron, Ohio, recently shared an idea that has impacted his church, community, and the world.
Carey received $50 from a distant relative for officiating at a family funeral. He didn’t feel comfortable using the money personally. At the same time, he was mulling over the conclusion to a message he was preparing on service and using resources to reach people for Christ.
He decided to break the $50 bill into 50 one-dollar bills. At the conclusion of his message, he gave each family in his church a $1 bill and challenged them to pray, work together, and figure out how to maximize that buck for God’s glory.
Carey recently shared story after story of how God has worked in people’s lives to bring exponential results (Eph.3:20) from $1 bills. Here are just a few ways people invested their dollars:
*A new widow felt impressed to buy a cup of coffee with her $1 bill. While she was paying, she felt compelled to buy another cup. Ironically, she doesn’t drink coffee. She was on her way to visit her husband’s gravesite. When she arrived, she saw two people shivering next to another gravesite near her husband’s. She met them, gave them the coffee, and learned that one of them had recently lost a loved one as well.
*A family used their $1 bill to buy a box of nails. They sold the nails in the box for 50 cents each to raise money for a family next door that was trying to build an additional room on their home to accommodate a handicapped child.
That act of service attracted community-wide attention and was featured in the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper. Not only did the family from the Ellet church help to raise more than $140 for their neighbors, but other community organizations have also gotten involved to offer further assistance.
* Another family bought some bread, made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and handed them out to homeless people in the Akron area.
* A lady bought some crayons, sold them, and used the money to buy school supplies for the school the Ellet church frequently reaches out to.
* A husband and wife split their $1 fifty-fifty. The wife took her half and got 50 pennies. She decided to give away each penny saying something like, “A penny for your thoughts.” In the conversations, she purposed to highlight the fact that “In God We Trust” was printed on the coin.
One day, a man entered the lobby where she works as a receptionist. The man looked pensive. She asked his thoughts, offered her penny, and communicated her trust in God. She came to learn that this man was a general in the Iranian army and was visiting the States for some medical treatment. He has since returned to Iran and to work.
Pastor Carey said, “Just as effective was the person who bought a cup of coffee and took it to a friend’s home who stopped coming to church. She stopped by to see how she was doing and invite her back. Another woman bought a hot chocolate for a poll worker she thought looked cold working outside on election day, and ended up having a good conversation with her.
“These opportunities were significant and God-directed. I think we will continue to see fruit for some time,”he concluded. (Source: www.cenational.org.)