There was no way I could have anticipated how my little suggestion would explode and impact the lives of hundreds of people on the other side of the country.
It was just another meeting at work. One of our vendors wanted to hold an event with our sales team in Buffalo to promote their “Build To Order” network during the week of September 11th.
A few ideas were tossed back and forth, and then I said: “Why don’t we have our sales team build backpacks full of school supplies for low-income families?”
It was a winner. But I had no idea just how big it would be.
Weeks went by and I heard nothing. That, in itself, is not unusual. I almost never hear feedback about how these things go. It’s rare to even get a photograph after the fact. But then the news started coming back to me.
At first, it was only a comment from the vendor rep who said, “Keith, that was the single best thing I have ever seen or been part of at this company.”
Wow. I was shocked. Then came the internal email which provided photos and details which were overwhelming.
Over 400 backpacks were stuffed with supplies by hundreds of associates in less than two hours. Two schools in the Buffalo area were awarded 200 backpacks each.
Then it got really awesome.
Cisco, the vendor, donated $1,000 for every hundred backpacks we filled. So each school received a check for $2,000 in addition to the backpacks and all of the leftover supplies.
But the story wasn’t finished yet. Not by a mile.
When the principals for each school showed up to receive the backpacks they were stunned. One woman, when she saw what was waiting, burst into tears while describing how many of her students are Refugees. “Some of these kids barely have clothing and can’t afford school supplies,” she said. “This is a dream, how could they be so lucky?”
By the time she was done telling the stories of these children, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Then Cisco decided to make this an annual event. And then the Wall Street Journal did a story on it.
Best of all? Both of those schools will have funds freed up to fund other important programs that, without those checks, would have been canceled completely.
Not bad for a simple idea at the end of a conference call on a random Tuesday.
Want to know what I love most about all of this? It’s that I have been asking God to show me the fruit of my ministry for a few months now. Mostly because I’ve been feeling as if I need to do more, or be more, or serve more. Then God shows me how much He can do with the most simple and random actions we take. Even when we’re not trying to bear fruit, He can do so much with so little.
It really is just about bringing our two loaves and a fish to lay it at His feet. He is the One who does the real work. He is the One who gets the Glory.
I keep seeing the picture of someone carrying a large sack of seed to the newly plowed field and every little seed that drops off along the way is springing up, growing stronger, bearing fruit – just as He designed every seed to do.
Do you have a story like this? I’d love to hear it! Share in the comments below.
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the forthcoming “Jesus Unbound: How the Bible Keeps Us From Hearing the Word of God”, available July 4th, 2018.
He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.
Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:
*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>
*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>
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