I want Kingsway to be known in Midlothian for radical generosity, a place where people with material needs receive abundant provision. The reason is simple. God has been exceptionally generous to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ. And He has granted us the privilege of adorning the gospel through ministries of mercy, promising to be generous to us so we can be generous to others.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)
Craig Smith recently saw God fulfill this promise in an amazing way. The man wears many hats as a full-time member of the Kingsway office staff. He coordinates mercy ministry. He builds community partnerships. He manages our facilities. The list goes on.
A few weeks ago, Craig walked in the front door to attend a BNI (Business Networks International) meeting we host every Thursday morning at 7am. Jim Roman, one of the BNI members, introduced Craig to a construction labor contractor named Dan.
“Tell Dan about The Food Pantry,” Jim said.
Craig explained our vision for mercy ministry to and how our love for the people in Midlothian is a small expression of God’s love for us in Jesus. “I didn’t know I was going to meet someone later that day who needed Dan,” Craig said.
After the BNI meeting, Craig visited the Kroger supermarket down the street looking for donations from their produce department to support The Food Pantry. He explained how many families in need lack the resources to buy quality produce. To Craig’s surprise, the produce manager quickly responded by promising to set aside vegetables on Wednesday night every week for us to give away on Thursday afternoons – free of charge. According to Craig, “That’s HUGE for the pantry.”
Shortly after 1pm, guests began arriving at The Food Pantry, just like they do every Thursday, most of them referred by the CCHASM network. One of the guests was a young man whom Craig had befriended over the course of his last few visits to the pantry. During their conversation that day, he opened up to Craig, sharing his struggle with substance abuse, his recent experience in the criminal justice system, and his futile search for a job.
“I want you to to know that you have a home here,” Craig said. “We have your back. And I really want you to let me know how I can help you. Would you be open to some contract labor – doing landscaping and things like that?”
“Absolutely,” the young man replied. “But no one will hire me because I’m an ex-con.”
“I know a guy who will,” Craig responded. And he promptly called Dan. No surprise, Dan was eager to help out and asked Craig to send him the young man’s resume.
“It’s another success story for the food pantry,” Craig said. “We’re able to transition people out of poverty of spirit. He came in depressed and feeling like a total failure. He left believing he had somebody in his court and with a cart full of food.”
When the young man expressed reservation about taking so much food, Craig quickly interjected, “This is a small example of the way God’s love is being showed to you today. He is far greater than we can understand. We don’t want you to just have a little. We want you to have ALL this. That’s what God’s love is like.”
Well said, Craig! May God give us more and more opportunities as a church to adorn the gospel through radical generosity.