Give and it will be given to you
By Pastor Tom Anderson
The other Sunday, our returning mission team presented me with a pillow. It was made by Selza, the widow I helped build a house for last October. But this is no ordinary handiwork. It is the very work of God fulfilling the promise Jesus made, “Give and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:37)
When I flew down to Mexico last October, I chanced to sit next to a couple from California, Mark Maduro and his wife. They were on their way to McAllen, Texas to visit family. Mark was very active in his church in Fresno and was effusive about his Christian faith. He noticed me reading my Bible and struck up a conversation.
It turned out that Mark was born and raised in Rio Bravo, His father is buried there. I shared with him that I was the pastor of Thrive Church headed to Rio Bravo for a week of mission–sharing the love of Jesus in a practical way by building houses for needy local families. Mark was so moved by our mission, he reached for his wallet and handed me a $100 bill to be used in the mission that week. I was utterly amazed. Since when do strangers hand me such large amounts of cash? This is what Jesus does to people!
We set to work building a house for Selza. She was an elderly widow living in desperate conditions. Her shack had flooded out in a recent downpour. The “floor” was a muddy mess, and all her goods were stacked on top of her bed and what few pieces of furniture she had–namely a table and a chair. If anyone ever really deserved a decent house it would be Selza. I think about her every night when I return to my own warm and well-furnished home.
Selza’s pastor told us that she was taking sewing classes and really liked it. But she did not have so much as a needle and thread at home. It was then the Spirit gave me the idea to use the $100 to buy her a simple sewing machine. Miraculously we were able to find one and buy it. It was presented to Selza on the last day when we dedicated her new house. Then I got on a plane thinking I'd probably never see or hear from her again.
Until I got the pillow. Turns out that the sewing machine and the new house lifted Selza out of the deep depression she’d been in. She came alive and began making clothes for all her family, neighbors and church members. And not only that but she single-handedly re-opened and leads a three-day a week feeding program sponsored by the Mexican Methodist Church. Selza has become such a bright light that everyone is giving thanks and praising her heavenly Father. Jesus was right: Give and it will be given to you!
Yes, I know it’s only a handmade pillow. But it means so much more to me. It is the very promise of the Gospel made visible. It will forever be a summons to me to step out in faith and be a