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The release of Tim Hiller’s new book Strive is coming October 1! To get ready for the Strive release, we’re introducing “The Strive Challenge” – 6 weeks with 1 purpose – to help readers pursue what matters most in their lives. Join in at: https://www.timhiller.com/the-strive-challenge/

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Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Isaiah 58:7

As we drove through the busy intersection we saw him. Sitting on a red milk crate, dejectedly leaning back on the street sign post sat a man with a cardboard sign.

“HOMELESS

Hungry. Please Help. God Bless.”

My wife and I both noticed him. But not enough to break the flow of our conversation as we sped by.

Two days later we found ourselves in the same area of town. As we caught up on the events of our day we approached the busy intersection once again. This time standing, the same man stood, wearing the same clothes he donned the day of our prior drive-by, one leg crossed over the other, holding his cardboard sign, staring down at the curb below him. We paused this time, both staring his direction in silence. As the light turned green we drove on, quiet as we both processed the scene. Then my wife broke the stillness with a question:

“What can we do to help him?”

That Sunday at worship our pastor played a role in providing the answer to that question by drawing our attention to Isaiah 58:7. Its poignant and direct words deeply moved our hearts:

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

In particular, we were grabbed by 3 segments of the verse:

  1. “…share your food…”
    Sometimes it’s easier to donate to a cause, or to sign a pledge, or to like a movement on Facebook. But God says “share YOUR food.” Give sacrificially—take something that is yours, something you value, something that you need too—and give it away with no strings attached.
  1. “…when you see…”
    When faced with an immediate need before us, that we have the power to meet—God says meet it. In the moment. “When you see”…not when it’s convenient. We shouldn’t wait—because often saying “later” really means saying “never.”
  1. “…your own flesh and blood…”
    We knew nothing about the homeless man on the corner. But by God’s standard, he might as well be my uncle, my cousin, or my brother. If I saw my sibling on the corner, what would I do? Our call to freely give requires us to view those in need as our “own flesh and blood.”

Challenged, convicted, and directed by God’s word, my wife and I began a new practice. And I’d like to invite each of you reading this to join us. We call it “gospel gift cards.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Make an index card with a bible verse on it or buy a pre-made flyer or card with a message or verse that shares your faith in Jesus. (For us, we use a gospel tract that outlines the Romans Road to Jesus. We get them through our church or online HERE)
  • Buy a few gift restaurant gift cards, like Subway or McDonalds, to provide a meal to the person in need. The increment is up to you, but we typically do $5-$10.
  • Insert or tape the gift cards in/on your card or tract and keep them on the console or in the cup holder of your vehicle.
  • When the opportunity arises and you see a person in your community in need, take the time to stop and hand them the gospel gift card. We usually say something like: “Here is a gift card so you can get a meal and some information on the good news of Jesus Christ.” Or, “Here is a meal you want along with some good news you need.”

I admit, I’ve missed several gospel gift card opportunities—either because I was in a hurry, or was in the wrong lane of traffic, or because I was simply too timid to follow through. I’ve failed to make good on this effort several times. But my wife and I also had to restock gift cards once because we’d given them all away—so it seems we’ve found a way to meet both a temporary physical need, and hopefully, an eternal spiritual need as well.

Only God knows the outcome of the gift cards and tracts, but we pray we will be faithful in sowing seed to those in need that cross our path, and that He will do the rest in fulfilling his plan. And hopefully, along the way, He will train our hearts to freely give more and more!

Will you join us in sharing gospel gift cards with others?

CLICK HERE to download and complete today’s Strive Challenge Tracker!

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The Strive Challenge™ by Tim Hiller