Was it worth the risk?
A few years ago, my father was having prayer time and heard from God in a whisper. The words were simple, "feed my people". At the time he had no idea what God meant by those words. Time would reveal things to my Dad that have changed his community and his spiritual life forever.
He first wondered, "what do you mean God", and then he asked, "how". The events that would happen after this conversation were all orchestrated long before God ever uttered a thing in my Dad's prayer time. He had conversations over the course of the next few days and weeks with friends and colleagues in his community in Florida. Once word got out that God asked my father to "feed His people", well, let's just say things got real, real fast!
First, he had to trust God and His bigger plan. Second, he had to recruit people that would be able to help him fulfill this plan. And third, where and how was this all to take place? The people came like ants marching, each one with something they could offer to get this under way. The plan was then set. He would start a food pantry for the community. It was lacking such a resource, and my Dad was determined to bring it to life. Once word got out that a food pantry was the end goal, a woman in the neighborhood of my Dad's church came forward with a building. What? It was right across the street from the church parking lot. And they had a full year's lease for free! Really? Only God! It had enough space, minimal cosmetic work to be done, and it was in the middle of town, easy access. So the location was set. Now onto the bigger things. How would they get food? Well, ask and you shall receive! He began contacting local grocery stores, warehouse type stores, and applied to be a 501(c)3, non profit organization. Freezers and refrigerators we being donated, they got shelving. Things were all coming together. The scene was set, it was show time. Applications were going out to those qualified to benefit from the pantry and requests for more were coming in. Once a week, bi-weekly and monthly clients were being served. They got busy pretty quickly. Word came into the church that there were some local elderly folks that were shut in and needed their boxes delivered. How would this happen? Again, only God! A local woman, who remains to this day anonymous , donated a cargo van and a year's worth of maintenance so the pantry can deliver! Wipe your eyes if you must, but this is not a dream folks. It just gets better and better. Fast forward from day one in 2015 to today, this food pantry went from one location to a whole community and global outreach! My Dad, John E. Clark started a branch of No One Hungry in Florida. This organization has gone beyond the pantry walls to the halls of Titusville High School, serving students who are on Section 8 assistance. They are equipped with school supplies from the school store, and on Fridays can go home with a weekend worth of non perishable food items for their household. But wait, there's more. Five years ago my dad and step mom took a missions trip to Belize and met with fellow Episcopal deacons, and priests. Oh yes, did I mention my Dad is a fully ordained Episcopal deacon? Told you it gets better! While on this trip, they were able to make life long connections and relationships, ultimately bringing his ministry to Belize City and Belmopan. Since 2016 they have traveled to Belize what seems like a dozen times. Each time with a special purpose. Once they helped the local schools run by the church, not the local government, feed the students. And they did a cargo drop with various things for the locals.
No One Hungry in just six short years has done amazing things. Not just feeding people, but sharing the love of Jesus with everyone they serve. In recent months, they had to vacate the original building, but were able to move into an even larger space around the corner. They will now be able to have local medical personnel come in and do free health screenings, and much much more!
Does all of this seem too hard to believe? With faith in our God, faith that when He speaks to us and gives us clear direction, things will happen, it really isn't a far fetched concept. This is risk. This is a risk my Dad was willing to take in faith.
God's word is clear:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:14-24
Faith without the follow through of works or deeds, is dead. What good is it to say I have faith and talk the talk, but don't walk the walk? If my dad had just disregarded the Lord speaking to him and considered it nonsense, what would have come of this conversation with a loving and compassionate God? I don't want to know the answer.
Does this speak to you? Has God spoken to you and asked you to step out in faith?
If He has, may I ask you, was it worth the risk?
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