My husband, Ed, my sister, Sam, and I just got home from a Christian conference. We had a great time but it’s interesting that one of the things that has stuck with me wasn’t from all the teachings and awesome praise and worship, it was actually from something we experienced during a lunch break. We had a nice break between sessions and decided we wanted to go over to a pizza place Ed & I had seen the day before. It was about a 10 minute walk, a beautiful day and we had lots to talk about coming from the first sessions, in fact we even had an assignment. We got to the pizza parlor and ordered our food and it was really, really good but the large pizza was huge, way more than the three of us could put away. We grabbed a to go box and headed out. I’m not sure if it was Ed or Sam but one of them suggested we give the rest of the pizza away to a homeless person. There were plenty in the area where we were at, so the decision was made. As we walked the few blocks back our eyes scanned the streets, the benches and the park. We saw one young man we thought we might give the pizza to, but he was asleep and we didn’t want to wake him. As our eyes moved from him, we saw our recipient, he was foraging in a nearby trash can, looking for food. Ed confidently walked over with the pizza box and kindly gave it to him. He smiled, answered the homeless man’s mumbled words with, “You’re welcome”, and we walked away, thankful we had boxed up the left overs, found a needy individual and passed on part of a blessing we had been given, good food.
This event struck me in my heart. Not the giving to the homeless person, per se, as we’ve done that before, Ed loves to give to people who are down and out. But the process itself. We had something, in fact we had overflow, more than we could enjoy and we knew we were to give it away. We had it in our hand, and we had an assignment, find the right hurting, hungry person to give it to. We knew what type of person we were looking for, someone needy and hungry. When our eyes lit upon this particular homeless man, we knew he was the right one. There were lots of homeless people between the pizza parlor and the conference location, but this one we knew was looking specifically for food, because he was foraging through the trash can. He had a need and we had provision and we were looking for him!
It dawned on me that this is how our lives are supposed to go because this is the example Jesus set for us. He was on assignment and everywhere He went He looked for those whose provision He had and He knew were looking for the answers He had. It was easier for us with the pizza box because it was a tangible experience and assignment, but I’m realizing that I need to be applying this principle to every aspect of the good news that Jesus has planted inside of me. Sometimes it will be tangible things like food, money or helping someone who can’t do something by themselves. Other times it will be kind words, sharing the salvation message or encouragement from the Word. Pizza Box Faith, that’s what I’m calling it. Jesus has given us more pizza than we can handle and I’m to take that abundance of pizza and look for those that He directs me to and share the abundance of pizza. That’s what Peter and John did with the lame man:
Acts 3:1-13 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
They had had lots of practice being prepared to share Jesus and His abundance of healing and restoration, and it dawned on me that it truly is the art of practice. Opportunities easily slip us by and I recognized this yesterday when what I think was a potential opportunity didn’t even dawn on my until it was passed. Ed & I were flying back and because of airline system problems our first flight was delayed causing us to miss our connection. We were re-booked onto a much later flight but we were hoping perhaps on a different airline we might be able to get out sooner. We were at the counter of the service center checking on options and there was a young Asian woman with another agent and she was being informed that there wasn’t another flight for her until the next day and she was pretty upset. As Ed & I were leaving the service area Ed mentioned to me that he hoped she was going to be ok and I, of course, agreed with him. It didn’t dawn on me until later that could have been a Pizza Box moment. We had peace about our situation (which in times past wasn’t even close to being the case!) and we could’ve waited nearby and just checked in with the young woman once she was finished to make sure she was going to be ok and to see if there was anything we could do. Just even see if she needed some encouragement or help. Like I said, it didn’t even dawn on me at the time, because, quite frankly, I didn’t realize at the moment I could be used in these simple but complex situations. They are simple because it doesn’t take much to reach out a helping or encouraging hand, they are complex because we tend to be so caught up in ourselves and our own agenda it can be challenging for the Holy Spirit to get our attention. I laugh at myself because He didn’t get my attention until later, but the good news is, He did get my attention!
I believe the reason that Peter and John were so quickly able to respond to the lame man and not let that opportunity pass them by is because they had learned to be on the lookout for these very opportunities. Before Jesus left for heaven He asked Peter to feed His sheep. Three times He asked Peter if he loved Him and three times He asked him to take care of His sheep (John 21:15-17). Peter was on the lookout for ways to feed and tend Jesus’ sheep. Jesus has asked us to do the same. Can we pry ourselves away from our various troubles, cares and activities and begin to see all of the Pizza Boxes that Jesus has given us filled with the abundance of our needs being filled and can we walk around each day looking for that opportunity to feed the homeless man, provide support and comfort to someone anxious and afraid, or be a listening ear and a prayerful heart for those who need it? I love the example the Holy Spirit gave us in our Pizza Box experience and with His help, I’m going to lean into believing that I’ve got lots of Pizza Boxes that Jesus wants to use me to pass out to others and just be obedient in handing them out wherever He leads. Luke 6:38 (NKJV) Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
A Daughter’s Prayer: Abba, what an exciting opportunity you have placed before me, before us. You have promised to meet our needs and more besides and you have also asked us to give to those in need. I have spent a lot of time receiving and being thankful for your provisions but I want to spend a lot more time seeing those who I can pass on Your abundance to. I pray for seeing eyes and a hearing heart to the whispers of the Holy Spirit encouraging me to be Your hands, Your feet and Your voice. Use me to pass out Pizza Boxes with love, kindness, graciousness and obedience. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.