by Steve Countryman
11/28/2011 / Christian Living
This actually started a few years ago during the Christmas season. That is when the Lord put on my heart to buy gift cards for Wal-Mart. I was to give them out to people I didn't know as anonymously as possible. I was to give them out and tell the person "God bless you". What I did was that I printed "God loves you" on a return address label in bold type and in smaller print below that I printed "Hope this card blesses you" and place that label on the front of each of the gift cards. That way whenever they looked at the card they would see "God loves you" right up to the time that they spent it. Sounds simple enough right? No, not for the flesh to stay out of it! I had a hard time giving them away. I kept trying to "find" the right needy person or family to give them to. I thought about hanging out in front of certain stores or restaurants looking for someone who look like they needed some help. I was missing the whole idea! I gave some of the cards to my wife Gina with the simple instructions of "give them away". I was still struggling trying to give away my first card with all of MY criteria attached. The next day I checked with Gina to see if she had given any cards away yet. To my total shock and surprise she had given all of them away! I asked her how she did it. Gina said that she just handed them out to different people as she came across them. That is when it finally hit me. I had made it more difficult then it was supposed to be.
So off I went determined to hand out some gift cards. I had just came out of Wal-Mart and got into my vehicle. I started to drive off when I remembered about the gift cards and thought that I would drive up to someone and just hand them a card. I spotted this woman walking towards the store so I drove up and rolled down my window and yelled to her "Here you go, I have something for you". Well that wasn't the right thing to say or do. She took a quick look back at me in my vehicle and started to panic and walked quickly to the store entrance. I sat there yelling "wait, wait I have something for you". Now I know it wasn't God's plan that I should drive around parking lots and scare people half to death trying to hand out these gift cards! This needed a personal touch on foot as I passed by someone. Then I would hand them a card and tell them "God bless you" and "Merry Christmas". Once I did that it went so much smoother and no police had to be called.
It was sad but necessary to go through that experience just to learn that God loves everyone regardless if they are needy or not. That I am to love as He loves and not to attach any limits, restrictions or criteria to God's love by handing out gift cards to people! God's instructions were to give the gift cards away. Not to give them to only needy people. Yes Gina and I have done this each year since we first started. It is such a blessing for us to do it and for the people who get them!
What is so neat about doing this is that there is no special criteria to handing out gift cards. So I would like to challenge you today to try this little experiment. Try to see how well you do giving away gift cards to different people you come across without any limitations. This time of year it is easier to find gift cards for sell. Some are sold with restrictions and attached fees with them. That is why I picked Wal-Mart gift cards. I am not a big fan of Wal-Mart but I know that the Super Wal-Mart up here has food and dry goods to fit just about everyone's needs and their cards don't have restrictions or fees attached. What is also nice about this idea is that it can be done anytime of year not just at Christmas! Are you ready?!?
May you have a very Merry Christmas!!!
Steve and Gina Countryman
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