Church Under The Bridge
We were lucky enough to get to go to Church Under The Bridge last week. I took half of my daughters, my W3 sister and her son.
Church Under The Bridge started out as just that, church under a bridge for the homeless and after the church service they would get a hot meal. I’m not sure when they got a real building but they now have a beautiful and simple building with a kitchen and sanctuary.
I would like to give a huge shout out to the owner of Little Caesars Pizza for donating the kitchen equipment and for being there having fellowship with the homeless during service. Go eat at Little Caesars this week, or heck, go twice!
I honestly didn’t have any idea what to expect when we got there but I did expect my kids to be a little withdrawn and slightly nervous. They are wonderful little girls but this was out of there element. By the time we got there everyone had already gathered in the sanctuary and the cafeteria was empty.
Before we went through the doors I reminded my girls that we were going to church with some of God’s people and that no matter what, these were our brothers and sisters and we need to be kind and loving. My oldest triplet jumped with glee and said “Are we going to get to see Jesus in there?”. Before I could answer, my youngest triplet told her “Jesus isn’t in there, He is in all of our hearts”.
Wow, they really do listen to everything that we say.
I had no idea that we really were going to see Jesus when we walked through those doors. When I opened the doors and ushered my girls in, I prayed that they would not comment loudly on the way that the room smelled. They didn’t say a word. As a matter of fact they smiled and said hi to everyone and didn’t cling to me like plastic wrap or my jeans from last year.
During the service I looked over at my friends and my daughters and they were all singing and praising God. The sight of my six year old standing in the middle of a group of homeless people, with her arms raised in praise as if it was all so normal was the best thing that I have ever seen. I don’t think that my daughters had any idea where they were. To them it was just church and they liked all the attention that they were getting from their new friends.
There were a lot of amazing moments that night and things that I will never forget but there was something that took me completely off guard and changed my life forever. In the middle of the service the pastor said that it was time to take up the offering.
What? Did he know where he was? These people lived on the streets, they hadn’t bathed in a while, had the same clothes on that they probably had on for the last month and tonight might be their only hot meal until the next night at CUB.
The pastor reminded all of us that the people sitting in front of him, the “street people”, are no different than the people in the multimillion dollar church just a few miles away and that God tells us to give and in return we will be given back ten fold.
Well, it goes more like this. “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. ” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. There’s also this one, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” Proverbs 3:9-10.
When the pastor called for the offering, the most amazing thing happened. Almost every single person in that room stood up and walk to the front of the room. Some had to be pushed in their wheelchair and one lady had to be guided by her friend because she was blind. Each one of them had years of wear and tear on them. Only about a third of them wore a smile. Each one of them put something in the small basket that held their gifts.
I watched as some let go of a handful of change, some put down a dollar and a child threw in a quarter. A child. Can you imagine what a quarter means to some of them? I don’t even want to think how much a dollar means. They gave it anyways.It wasn’t about the money for them, it was about giving themselves and obeying the Word. It was about honoring God and giving Him thanks for the blessings that He has given them.
I can imagine the joy that it gave God to watch His most struggling children give in His name the way that they did.
I was jealous of their faith, submission and joy.
What have I been doing?
I’ll be the first to admit that when the offering tray comes around my way a church I start to calculate my bank account in my head. I think about what bills I have to face in the upcoming week. I think about what my girls need at school (you know it’s always something).
How much can I spare? SPARE! Who the hell do I think that I am!! Tithing is not about what we can spare, it is about obeying Gods word. Period. When I slip my envelope in the tray I wonder if God says “Silly girl, I know you have more to give”.
My husband and I seriously volunteer in any way that we can at our church and outside of our church but we are fools if we think that it is enough. God will always provide, always. That means I should stop visualizing my bank account every time the offering comes around.
Even if I emptied it we will still be okay because God will provide. I never thought I would say this but I want to be more like the homeless people that I sat in church with and a lot less like me.
Abundant Father thank you for always providing for us even when we think that we don’t have enough. Bless each any every one of the amazing people who gave everything that they had in order to honor Your great name. Remind us that it is Your will for us to give of ourselves and of our riches. Help us to give completely without worry of what might happen to us if we empty our pockets. Please let that sweet child who gave her last quarter find abundant wealth and health. In Jesus name, amen.
When we got home from church my youngest triplet brought her piggy bank to our room and said that she wanted to give all her money to the people who don’t have any. She watched a child give away her only quarter and it made her want to give away all the money that she has earned over the last six years. What’s in your piggy bank?