I had an all-too-typical experience yesterday.
A young woman whom I’d never met stopped by our office and asked to speak to me. She said she had four kids, and that one of them had cancer. She and her husband had tried to buy a house in the area, but had been cheated out of seven thousand dollars, depleting their savings. They had decided to relocate to Tennessee to an area where they felt confident they would be better off. Oh, and one more thing. None of their family members were speaking to them so they couldn’t approach them for help.
After listening to her story, I said, “So what are you asking me?” (Because she hadn’t yet asked me a question.)
She said, “Could your church pay our moving expenses to Tennessee?”
I said no, explaining to her that she would be talking about quite a large sum of money. I said that there were quite a few smaller things we could do for her family, but that paying their moving expense was out of the question. Our church simply did not have the resources to provide such services for people.
That’s when it got interesting.
She said, “We used to go to church in Tennessee, and I can promise you that our pastor up there, if he saw someone in need like we are, he would reach into his own pocket and meet that need if the church didn’t have the money.”
I said, “It’s wonderful that you know someone like that. I would suggest you give him a call.”
She explained that he’d recently had a death in the family and she didn’t want to bother him during such a difficult time.
Then she turned on the tears.
Again, I offered some smaller services: prayer, food, gas money, etc. She threw up her hands and said with an angry tone, “Why do churches all offer prayer and food? Don’t they know that what people need is money?”
The conversation ended with her telling me how uncaring I was and stomping out the door in a huff.
I immediately ran outside and looked up at the front of our church building. I thought perhaps someone had put a bank sign up there without telling me!
I heard it said one time that some people will go through their entire lives and never feel blessed because there’s only one kind of blessing they recognize: money. Offer them anything else and they feel slighted, even offended. I sensed that young woman was just such a person, and I felt bad for her.
I picture a gigantic storage area in heaven with trillions of boxes of blessings stacked to the ceiling, all stamped with the words, “Return to Sender.” The woman I met yesterday probably has quite a few boxes in there with her name and address on them.