Monday, September 16, 2013


So, a few weeks ago, I was driving around minding my own business, running a few errands.

After stopping at the bank, I was heading back to my car when I noticed a person holding a sign at the entrance to the parking lot.

Yes, one of those very sad souls.

You know, my husband and I always make an effort to help people who are asking for money.  Yes, we've heard all the arguments about what they might do with the money.  But we aren't concerned.  We want those people to know that someone saw them and cared, and we want them to know that they are never forgotten by The One.

So, I start reaching for my wallet.

And then it happened.

I heard a still, small voice say to me, "Give him $20."


I NEVER give that much.  NEVER.  And so, I'm thinking maybe I just heard wrong.

But no, the Voice spoke again.

"Give him $20."

Well, it was hard to argue.  I thought of excuses.  My last one was my best – "I don't have a twenty-dollar bill."  But of course, I did – I had just walked out of the bank.   

At last, I reached my car and got in.

And then I whispered the truth, "Lord, I don't want to give him $20.  That's a lot of money."

He answered, "Do it anyway."

So, with a big sigh, and a begrudging heart, I got out of the car and made my way to the homeless man.

I handed him the money and said, "The Lord told me that you needed this today.  I hope it blesses you."

And then I waited.

I waited for his effusively grateful response.  I waited to be told what a kind and generous stranger I was.  I waited to be applauded for being so unselfish.

I waited.

He did sorta mumble, "Thank you."  But that was pretty much it.  I sorta muttered and grumbled all the way back to the car.  Truthfully, my inner dialogue went something like this:

"Well, I hope you're happy, Lord.  I did what you wanted.  And it wasn't even appreciated."

Nice, huh?

Well, as the day went on, I did feel better about the whole thing.  I had listened to the inner prompting of my heart.  I had obeyed the compelling of the Spirit.  And even though my *aftermath* reaction wasn't perfect, I had acted.

At the time this happened, I was in town visiting with family, so I was out and about for several days.

So, it figures that a day or two later I see the SAME guy in the SAME place, still asking for money.

OK, so now all sorts of evil thoughts start running through my head.

"Boy, Sharon, you sure got taken.  That guy's probably a professional beggar, making tons of money each day.  Look at him working that corner."

I'm also not really thinking great things about God making me do such a stupid thing.

But, again, He spoke to me.

"Sharon, you're completely missing the point here.  You giving that money away had nothing to do with the homeless man."


"The whole thing was about you.  Were you willing to do what I asked you to do, even if it didn't make sense, even if it hurt a little bit?"

About me?

"Yes, about YOU.  And you know what?  You obeyed.  Well done, faithful servant."

Faithful, muttering servant, I said to myself.

But He just smiled.

I ponder this.

How often do we encounter situations like this?   Situations that test our listening skills, and stretch our obedience muscles.  

How often does God seek to take our discipleship temperature?

I'm sure you can think of at least one time when God called you to do something that you didn't want to do.  Something that didn't make sense, something that hurt a little bit...or a lot.

What did you do?

You see, sometimes the situation isn't what it seems.  It's so much more. For instance, my test wasn't about generous giving.  It was really about my WILLINGNESS to obey.

Not the money, but the motive.

I think if we really turn our ears to listening, we'll hear God quite often during the day.  And I think He'll really be asking this, no matter what the particular situation is:

"Are you willing to do what I ask?"

Obedience isn't convenient – it isn't always rewarded either.  At least not always in a way that we can see.

I wanted praise from the homeless man – but I really got nothing.

But trust me, my act did NOT go unnoticed.  I was observed by The One.  And I know that He will reward me.

Now, every time I drive down this particular street, I still see the same guy. It's been well over a month since I gave him my money.  Yeah, I still feel a little bit of cynicism over the whole thing.  But that quickly dissipated the other day when I had this thought – I wonder if that guy's an angel?  What if he's just standing there day after day, offering tests to God's servants? Giving us opportunities to listen and obey?

I wonder.

And so, I'm practicing listening to God, even if I don't always like what He has to say!  And I'm praying for the grace and courage to act on what He says, especially if I don't like what He has to say! 

God spoke to Jonah, and he ran the other way.  And then there was a lot of messy stuff involving a storm and a fish.  FINALLY, Jonah obeyed.

But, I'm thinking…

What if we got it right the first time?

What if we chose obedience in the very beginning?

What could God do in us and through us if we acted on the Voice we hear?

I want to find out!!

Don’t you?!

To obey or not to obey,
that is the question. 

"And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded." (Matthew 10:42, NLT)

"You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35, NLT)

"But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.'" (Jeremiah 7:23, NASB)

When was the last time the Holy Spirit compelled you to do something?  Did you do it?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Jen at UNITE
Gail at TGIF

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. OK, shhh listen... Did you just hear that voice again. It said, "Send Debbie $2000.00." Now, stop arguing and be obedient.


    Seriously, I do love this post and something very similar happened to me. It was about the money I was given for speaking at a retreat. I had been given more than I could believe and was just floored. I was on my knees thanking God for it with all my heart and telling him how I was so glad to give him back twice the tithe. I felt all generous, and then as plain as day, He told me that I had to give 100% of it to a young couple so they could buy Christmas presents for their sons. The wife/mother had recently lost her job.

    I tried not to listen. I admit it. It actually made me kind of sad because we could have used really used that money. Finally, I just had to hand it over. The family couldn't have shown "appreciation" because I gave it anonymously, and no one would expect us to have that kind of cash to give away. There has never been a "reward" this side of heaven for having done it.

    That's why I love this post. You remind me that I was wrong to even look for some kind of compensation for merely doing what I'm told to do. Great lesson.

  2. Couldn't help but chuckle Sharon. We think we know who needs to be taught only to have God reveal to us that it's us He is teaching a lesson.

  3. Sharon,

    What a beautiful example to all of us. My husband and I have had some experiences like this. Of course, our common sense tells us one thing but other times we have been prompted to do what most would describe as crazy....even going as far as giving someone a warm bed to sleep in on a cold night (in the room above our detached garage). You are right, the Lord can prompt us to do things like this and it is really easy to rationalize all of the common sense reasons why maybe we shouldn't. There have also been times when I have missed opportunities to be a blessing to someone by simply being in a hurry or just not being obedient. Thank you for the reminder to always listen to that still small Voice.

  4. I'm going to print this out and put it in the glove compartment of the car. Wow!

  5. I love that: "Faithful, muttering servant"! lol Aren't we all that way sometimes? Fortunately, God understands and will gently (and sometimes not so gently) guide us and teach us to drop the "muttering" part! :-) I love how transparent you are with your posts as so many can really connect with how you feel, including myself! Being obedient isn't always easy, but that is why it is such a growth experience when we are. Thanks for sharing, Sharon!

    Blessings, Joan

    1. That was my favorite line too. I am often the "Faithful, muttering servant!"

  6. Good for you for following through, Sharon, and obeying God. I was pulling into a shopping center back on the 4th of July and I saw a homeless guy sitting at the corner. God told me "buy him a sandwich" so I went into Von's and ordered one through the deli; made it a good one too, LOL, all meat, cheese, etc. Got a water and I think something else, paid for it with my stuff I bought, went out and drove to where the man was, only to see that there were two men there, but thankfully the sandwich had been cut in half. They were appreciative. I haven't seen them there again, though they said they lived behind the shopping center. But I did tell them that God wanted me to buy a sandwich. So you are right, we need to listen and to obey to that still quiet voice of our Lord's.


  7. Hi Sharon,
    Another intesting, soul searching post from you. I wonder if sometimes it is not just money we are required to give. Perhaps sometimes the Lord asks us to go back again and be humble and loving, when someone has rejected and been hurtful to us. A lot to ponder. Thank You for sharing. God Bless

  8. Love your totally honest posts, Sharon. I think many of us have been where you were and heard that voice but shushed it right quick and went on our way! We are the ones who missed out on the blessing.
    Blessings to you, Sharon!
    2 Encourage
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  9. Radical obedience is the only way to go.

    So glad momma notes blessed you today. You joining in the melody, blesses me right back.

    Happy day,

  10. Hi Sharon! I am coming over from Unite.

    Boy, I have been in your shoes. We would drive to visit my in-laws every Sunday for a big Italian dinner. Getting off the expressway ramp, there would ALWAYS be someone looking for money, work, food...anything. I'd make a sack lunch when I remembered, but I'd always try to do something.

    My pastor says what anyone does with our donation to them is not our concern. It is about us, in that we should give no matter what, just like you said. It does make us like Christ, who loved the poor in this world.

    I think a lot of people wouldn't have listened to that 'voice' like you did. They'd just override it, and give a little or nothing at all. I give you a lot of credit for being that obedient servant. And being a good listener to the Spirit. That is not a small thing!

    Peace to you, my friend,

  11. Sharon, I loved your story! How often do we miss it when God seems to require of us something perhaps a bit out of the box. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  12. Oh yes, if I notice someone at the grocery parking lot with a sign that says Hungry (or will work for food) I often purchase a loose banana and offer it as I leave. I once gave a lady with a dog, a 12 pack of canned dog food. amazing what God drops into our heart to do. I started to only give the lady one can, but God said give her the whole case of 12. That dog food was "ONE" and the chunks of chicken and vegetables looked good enough to eat. I thought later maybe her dog shared !! You never know!

  13. How true! Sometimes it simply comes down to ...are we willing to obey Him, even when it does not make sense to us! Thank you for this reminder today. I visited from Let Me Tell You a Story.
    Have a great Tues.!

  14. You know Sharon that is what I call love - putting others first - even if it hurts - I try to live it and teach it - but it is a hard one to do. Love, sandie

  15. Thank you for reminding me that God wants a servant heart, not to figure it all out but just hear Him and obey. It was a $20 lesson, but oh so much more the way you write about it. People pay big bucks to learn discipleship lessons!

  16. This is similar to what my husband and I have gone through a number of times. Both giving and wondering and hoping... but knowing the only truth issue is that we obeyed the Lord. The rest of it is up to Him, re: the receiver, and to us with our attitudes as the givers. That way here and in Uganda, in particular.

    Good thinking, good sharing. Appreciate it.

  17. Hi Sharon, it is so true that often times what we think a situation is, is completely not what God makes of it! I love how He does that and the lightbulb moment happens. Brings so much peace. The thing too is when we give, to do so as unto the Lord. We are responsible for our obedience, not for the reaction of the person being blessed. Great post, loved it
    God bless

  18. Dear sweet Sharon
    Oh, I had a nice giggle and thought of our Lord's words not to let the left hand know what the right gives or does. I think we have conveniently forget that it means much more than just the actual words. It is much more about attitude. We are not supposed to even think of a thank you and remember that it is actually Jesus we serve. Lovely post, dear one.
    Blessings XX

  19. Love this - a real lesson to listen to that voice. Thanks for linking to Sunday Stillness.

  20. Oh that we would listen and obey! Great post!

    Thanks for linking up with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday!

  21. Your post is a wonderful reminder to all of that we are to obey what God is saying no matter how hard or our lack of understanding...I have been in that situation many times and now I just say "how much Lord" attitude is not always the best but I know God knows what He's doing....

  22. I did the same thing a few years ago - gave the man $20 or $40 - and, yes, it was a scam. There was a group who worked the interstate ramps. He was out there again. It was given, though, at His prompting - like you - and I have to think that it was a faith seed planted:)

  23. It's all about our obedience, isn' it? What a strong post Sharon, it speaks to all of us. The 'muttering' part made me smile. The truth is, when we do obey, that in itself blesses us, even when we may not see the reason or the results. Like you said, God does.

    Great post!

  24. I had the same thing happen last year. Except the man was grateful, and even shared his story. I asked him if he knew Jesus, and when he said he did, and prayed to him everyday, I told him that it was Jesus who told me to give him some was the only cash I had in my purse (I hardly ever carry cash) I was just going into walmart for some dental floss before my dental appt. (forgot to floss beforehand, LOL)
    I gave him $15 and had just enough loose change in my purse to pay for my floss afterward.

    all those questions popped up in my mind also, and the Lord showed me that whenever we are obedient, it is always a blessing whether or not we realize it right away. What the man did or did not do with that money is between him and God.
    Personally I have failed many times to obey that still small voice, and always regret it once the opportunity has passed. But that time it felt good to do what I was told, and it made me so happy that I didn't even mind going to the dentist, lol!

    ~Blessings and love~ Lisa

  25. This is just wonderful - so convicting, in a good way! I'm definitely a mumbler sometimes when I obey the prompting of the Spirit. I think God wants our hearts and our attitude to be right and glorifying to Him. Thank you for your post!

    Nicole @ WKH

  26. Sharon, the Lord used you in more ways than one, here. Besides blessing the homeless man(even though he showed no appreciation), you learned a valuable lesson in following the prompting of the Spirit's voice even when it doesn't make sense, AND you spoke to many hearts here on your blog.

    I loved this post and your story telling. Thank you so much for telling us that you muttered and later felt guilty for it when the Lord blessed you as a faithful servant. I so need to hear that others feel what I feel and that I'm not some crumb of a Christian because I'm not always joyful or willing.

    Another thing your post did was show me how I was following the Lord when I made a One-Year Commemorative Navy Album for our youngest. I included in there a 2-page spread of an event in which he deliberately left me out of but later gave me photos from his girl. I also closed the album with a photo of he and his fiance hugging during his homecoming and labeled it with their names and engaged.

    My youngest never said, "Gee that was so special Mom. Thank you." I was looking for a response from him without realizing I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. Later, his fiance said it was beautiful.

    Just obey that voice--thanks for the lesson. You are quite the story teller, Sharon. I love it.


  27. Obedience is better than sacrifice, God said:)
    I am glad that you obeyed and surely, God wants our obedience every minute of our lives whether it is giving, praying or forgiving or telling the truth although it hurts. The list can be endless. But still, there is so much joy and giving and obeying:) Have a blessed weekend. dropping by from Spiritual Sundays. mY entry: Going somewhere? From :

  28. Sharon... oh boy1 When we don't respond the first time, the right way, we open a door for a lot of trouble to set in. Full obedience at the get-go brings blessings. I confess that I haven't done it right away many times. Grateful for God's forgiveness and willingness to give me second and third and fourth chances.

  29. I think it makes sense that we want to see that we've done good. Not just a "thank you," (though that is nice) but that what we are giving has been put to good use. I've justified many a donation to one charity over another because I felt the one I gave to would be a better steward of what is has been given. But maybe I need to just give and let God be the steward...something to ponder.

    Visiting from The Weekend Brew.

  30. I love this post on several levels - first, the purposeful giving you and your husband practice - "We want those people to know that someone saw them and cared, and we want them to know that they are never forgotten by The One." That definitely has given me food for thought... Second, oh my goodness, I love to read about your relationship with God - your conversations are wonderful! Third - from one learning-to-be-obedient woman to another - Good Job! Thank you for sharing your thoughts (especially the arguing ones...) and for your example! Well done!

  31. Sharon you your stories always have such a wonderful meaning and learning experience behind them. So often our lives get so rushed that we don't listen to that little voice in our heads pointing us to a certain decision or direction. Life would be so much easier if we did just trust in God.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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