I did not see this coming. Our tour manager had already let me know that we were going to a church in one of the poorest counties in the country. He had informed me that these people may be discouraged. 60% of the church was unemployed. I was ready and prepared to be sensitive, positive, and possibly even encouraging.
Instead, these people fed me the best ribs I’ve ever had away from Beale St. They were kind and giving all day long. And I had carved out some time to spend with their pastor, hoping to be a support and encouragement to him. Instead, he both challenged and encouraged me. He had been leading his people through a study of the Bible that had fairly strongly centered on giving. He didn’t know how his people who couldn’t even care for themselves could be asked to give. And yet, the messages kept leaning that way. Sometimes extravagant giving is not giving a huge amount, but giving a small amount that you actually need. He had taught through the Bible. God asked Moses for the stick in his hand. A little boy gives up his lunch and Jesus feeds 5000 people. You give what God has given you. God doesn’t ask you to independently solve the world’s hunger problems. He asks you give what’s in your hand.
But his people had nothing to give. What can a church do when their people don’t have anything? So instead of giving up, they looked at what they did have. The church had land. Land that they couldn’t build on because they had no money. So instead, they started a garden. A 7-acre garden. And they grew food. And helped to feed their people and others. They gave what they had: land, time, and effort. And God blessed it.
I have to be honest. I left that place changed. We gave of what we had. Time. Music. Jon, our sound guy on the tour, rewired their whole sound system at the church. But I have to admit. I left the poorest church on the tour having received much more than I gave.
And I left wanting to share that story. To challenge people not to be overwhelmed by the needs you see, but to meet the needs you can. And so I gave in the way I know best… I wrote a song.
You can hear “Give What’s In Your Hand” on the new record How To Be Loved. Available on iTunes, in your local Christian store, or in the store here on toddagnew.com. And here are some of the stories behind the other songs on H2BL.
Give What’s In Your Hand
Don’t You Think
Your Great Name