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The Privilege of Giving

During our outreach in East Kentucky,

The outreach team to East Kentucky.

The outreach team to East Kentucky.

We teamed up with one of the local churches in a very small town where drug/alcohol abuse, violence, and poverty are very common.  For the few days we were there, we attended every event and service at the church.  Through this, we were able to get to know the congregation and many who were visiting.  One family in particular caught the whole team’s attention.

This family of five was living down the street from the church in a beat up mobile home in a very poor environment, facing the possibility of being evicted.  One of our team leaders felt led to buy a nice pair of winter boots for the young boy in the family, and our other team leader felt led to give them the extra food we had left from our outreach. We all pooled money for the boots, and personally delivered the box of food to the family’s front door.  As I watched this from the van, God was doing something in my heart.

I watched the mother receiving the food from my friends,  wearing a short sleeve shirt on a cold winter’s day.  Suddenly a thought came into my mind:  You should give your coat to that woman.

This was my favorite coat,  so I began trying to find reasons why I shouldn’t give it away.

This is my favorite coat“; “I have no other rain proof coats, I need this“; “The team is already in the car, if God wanted me to do this He would have put this thought in my head earlier!

We drove away and prayed over the neighborhood, and then left for our next location.  “Ha, now I can’t do it! We’re leaving the area!”  I thought.  Yet even in my sea of “good excuses”,  my heart was heavy.  If this really was God speaking to me, I didn’t want to disobey.

The next morning, I asked God about this situation in my quiet time.  I felt like I was being led to the book of Matthew, but wasn’t sure what chapter or verse.  Looking at my clock, I saw it was 6:28 a.m.  So I thought, why not Matthew 6:28?

This is Matthew 6:28 :

“And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.”


Marissa giving her coat to the woman.

My eyes kind of bugged out for a second.  I knew God just spoke to me (and used my clock to do it), and was telling me to give my favorite coat away. Turns out that that town was on the way back to Louisville, and that we needed to stop for gas there.  Finally, I beat my pride down for a second and went to one of my leaders and told her what God had been telling me to do.  She was completely for it.

As we drove back to the family’s house, we prayed over the coat, that the joy of the Lord would go into the home with it.  We got to the house and as I knocked on the door, I felt peace.  I explained that I wanted them to have my coat.  My teammates and I prayed for the family,  the daughter gave me a hug, and I walked back to the van to go home.

That day I learned that even though it’s not always what I want, God’s way is always the best.  I found way more joy in giving my coat away than I ever would have in keeping it.  That coat wasn’t mine.  It and everything I’ll ever have will always belong to the Lord and it is my joy and privilege to give those things back when He asks me to.

10364118_1050412288309396_5053397888783678043_nMarissa is a student in our Fall 2015 DTS.  She did her stateside outreach in East Kentucky, and now she and her husband, Jose, are travelling to South Asia for six weeks to spread the love of Christ everywhere they go.