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The 20 dollar Adventure

Dr. RB McFee

“God loves a cheerful giver”

2 Corinthians 9:8


Twenty dollars – to some folks it is a rounding error to their wealth. For others it is a sizable sum of money. And for most of us it reflects a certain amount of effort – hours worked, or somehow saved from our daily employment to earn that sum of money. 


And over the years, the purchasing power of $ 20 has changed. At one time $20 could even pay for a hotel room.  But if you are judicious and plan wisely, you can still have fun, create a meaningful adventure or do some tangible good with that amount of money.


Consider several years ago before my mother went to the Lord, she and I every so often would each take a twenty dollar bill and go into the Christmas Tree Shop to see how many cool, useful or just plain fun things we could get for our money.


And like kids coming home from trick or treating on Halloween, we would empty our bags and examine our ‘haul,’ and see who bought the most items for $20 and who bought the most useful or fun things.

For $ 20 you can drive to a free state park in another state and picnic by the water for an afternoon with family or friends.


For $ 20 you can rent a kayak for an hour or so on a lovely river.


For $ 20 you can go out to lunch with an old friend not seen in a while and have a great visit.


It truly is the heart that goes into it, and how we decide to spend our day and income – towards something positive, or destructive. But let’s talk about goodness….


For $20 you can have a few Matthew 25: 35 – 40 experiences ….


The other day a good friend and I were catching up. She seemed both excited and content at the same time – not easy to pull off unless the Holy Spirit is your Tour Director. So I asked her “what gives?”


She laughed and said “what gives? You hit the nail on the head,” and then proceeded to describe the reason for her countenance.


Having had the day off, she decided to do some fun things and a few errands, too. One errand included buying groceries.


Driving to the grocery store she saw two people at the intersection, one holding a sign about being hungry. It was a hot day and the two seemed pretty fatigued. Because traffic was heavy she couldn’t stop to talk with them or ask what they needed, but decided to pick up a couple sandwiches and give them something to eat along with bottles of water. 


Unfortunately when she got out of the store the two were nowhere to be seen. At first disappointed, she put the sandwiches and water on the passenger seat and listened for the small Voice of the Holy Spirit – and was reminded of a spot where folks down on their luck often would ask for food. And as she approached the spot, there was indeed someone who appeared down on his luck. He was a pleasant, somewhat disheveled man she had seen and helped before.  As traffic was brisk their conversation was brief as she gave him lunch.  He appreciatively accepted the gift. And as she turned the corner the man already was enjoying his newly arrived meal.


One sandwich down, one to go, but where?


Again that small Voice guided her to another street corner near a different grocery store. There she met a very nice man who was a veteran. Sadly, and much too often the case, this veteran lived frequently on the streets. He couldn’t be more grateful. She remembers the tears in his eyes. His eyes followed her car as she drove away, as he held the sandwich, mouthing “thank you.”


On the ride home, the groceries in her car held new meaning, and a greater sense of gratitude washed over her for what she could afford, but also that in a small way had the ability to help some folks, even if it was just to get through one afternoon less hungry.


Later that afternoon driving out of town, she noticed another person standing in the hot sun holding a sign asking for food. Making a little detour from her normal route, she pulled up next to him, and gave some money and bottled water, chatted a bit, told him where he could get a cold drink and then drove off as the light turned green.


Here’s where the contentment came in. On the drive she reflected on how great she felt, and how God had allowed her the gift of touching three lives, making their day a little less burdensome, and perhaps feeling they mattered, all for around 20 dollars.


When she told me that, I thought about A Christmas Carol – where Dickens conveyed in his powerful story how much good, how much happiness could be shared with others for relatively little “mere mortal money.”


Jesus reminds us throughout His ministry He took the time to share love, compassion, kindness with those who were often overlooked by society.  Jesus as the Son of God could have done long distance healing, but instead looked the lame and sick, lost and lonely straight in the eyes, and touched them. We worship a hands on Savior!


 And Jesus reminded His Chosen, His Disciples anytime they fed the hungry, treated the sick, visited the lonely or jailed, and cared for those in need, they were in essence doing this to Him, and for Him.


It can’t be easy to stand outside for hours on end hoping someone will give a dollar or two, or cup of coffee, bottle of water or even a kind word. Imagine the hundreds of cars or people passing by. Some scoffing or sneering as if they knew what got that person in such an unenviable position.  

Jesus saw it two thousand years ago – the lame man at the pool’s edge, the beggars, and infirm near the temple, the lepers on the road. And we see it today, less the lepers. The person standing out in 20 degree or 90 degree weather is working for his or her daily bread, too. Make no mistake about that…. perhaps seasoned with a little kindness.


I’m not justifying, condoning nor am I condemning it. I don’t know what got them standing in the rain. Jesus always knew, but rarely asked.


 And the why matters less when you are face to face with someone hungry asking for food or is shivering cold and without gloves or safe place to live. Could it be mental health issues, or poor life choices? Does it matter at that moment when we have the opportunity to share Christ’s love, and in the process affirm our love for Him through how we try to behave like Him?


Reflecting on the beggars in the Bible, especially the ones calling out to Jesus and other passerby, I think they were asking for more than just food or money, or healing. Maybe they just needed a touch of humanity, a bit of kindness – kind word, acknowledgement that they are not forgotten.


What Jesus did, and in mortal fashion can as well – we can make folks who others discount or discard know that they are not valueless, that in God’s Kingdom they have a purpose as long as they are sporting a pulse.


$20 – not a princely sum, unless it buys the only meals some folks will eat that day.

$20 – not a princely sum, but then neither was the widow’s mite spoken of in the Bible, and thousands of years later we still remember it, and the lesson Jesus shared through the generosity of one impoverished woman.


$20 – not a princely sum, but it bought my friend an adventure of the spirit and with the Spirit.


She took the time to listen for the Holy Spirit’s whisper. And though He gave her the opportunity of blessing others, she was exponentially blessed even more-so by the happy memory of being the love, the face and the hands of God for three strangers. Will they get it or feel God at work? That’s up to the Holy Spirit and whether they accept the invitation from Above.


Will we accept the invitation from Above and each day look for some adventure of the spirit and with the Spirit – whether it is a phone call to a shut in, an iced tea to a homeless person on a hot afternoon, a kind word when one maybe isn’t warranted, the list goes on and on how we can fulfill Matthew 25….


“For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me;  I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and invite You in, or naked and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison, and come to You?”  Then Jesus answered and said to them “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”

Matthew 25: 35 – 40


May God bless you with a $20 adventure; and when it is an adventure in generosity, it is truly an Adventure in the Spirit.


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