2023, $10 challenge and letters

Published 6:23 pm Sunday, January 8, 2023

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Over the past few weeks, I challenged our congregation to take $10 and either multiply it and donate it to our Potter’s House mission for the homeless or use it to help someone else in a creative way. Here are two interesting responses to provide encouragement and a touch of creativity as we start a new year. 

The Sunday before Thanksgiving you challenged us to “do something good with $10! For some reason that challenge struck a chord in me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind! Someone mentioned that the church bike ministry had 65 bikes to give to children in the community! A member had donated safety helmets for each! So, I popped up with: “Here’s $20 from us for locks!” In a heartbeat, everyone at the table donated! We could purchase four or five bike locks. 

That was a start, but a far cry from the 65 needed! One person suggested I talk to a bike shop. The managers of the shop were very supportive when I described my idea of turning $10 into 65 children’s bike locks! They agreed to accept whatever I could raise from other challenges along with preparing me for the possibility that the locks may not arrive in time to be handed out with the bikes! I called, cajoled, and convinced a total of 19 people to help! 

Sure enough, on Dec.1, the locks were ready to go home with the bike recipients! Most of the donors were from our church, but a Catholic neighbor, plus a single father and his daughter were inspired to donate as well! In 24 hours $220 had been promised. GOD did it! In the midst of a terrifically busy time, this project had taken shape and been brought to fruition! The bike shop, put in $210! The locks arrived on time and were given to the children! GOD IS GOOD!! Thanks for the nudge!

When Pastor Larry gave us the $10 challenge my heart was all in it but I seriously wondered how I was going to find the creativity much less the time to convert my $10 into more than that amount, especially during the busiest work time of the year. I decided I couldn’t do it alone so I prayed that God would allow me to see opportunities to either expand the $10 or share even that small amount with others. 

I prayed about it each day for a week. Nothing. Then I got a text from the American Red Cross with a call to blood donors and they’d give you a $10 gift card to Amazon for giving blood. It was a busy time, but that $10 amount spoke to me and I figured I could give two hours one afternoon. I added that $10 to my original 10, as well as giving precious blood to someone. I kept praying. 

Then last Monday we went out for dinner with friends. We had what we thought was a small gift card but it was twice what we thought and they insisted on giving cash back to us, even though the amount was small. How much did they give us? You guessed it, $10. Now my challenge fund was up to $30. 

Four days later I came home from work to find a strange envelope from a health insurance provider. In it was a refund check for a parent who passed away over five years ago. I texted my siblings telling them and totally unprompted all three told me to just keep it and when I suggested giving the amount to charity, they heartily agreed. The check for $71 added up to just over $100 for the $10 challenge. 

I recognized that by being open to God multiplied my original offering times 10! Friends and I will be serving dinner to the homeless during the winter shelter ministry. This gift will be the startup money to help us provide a hot meal for over 70 people. I was struck that God not only multiplied the original $10; he kept my heart open to the unusual ways He would multiply it to share with others.

Jesus says, “‘To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” (Luke 19:26) The challenge to use well what we are given applies whether it’s $10, our annual income or our church resources. For 2023 may we accept God’s invitation to put our resources to work and watch God work miracles in the midst of us.

Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at larrydavies@vaumc.org.