In the late 90’s, my church was asked by the city if we could help a widow pay her rent. She needed $100 or she was going to be evicted from her apartment. The deacons paid her rent and our church gained an elderly, African-American lady as a new member of our community.
Folks in the church helped Mrs. McGhee find work cleaning at a large insurance company in town, including the office of a friend, now one of her fellow church members. I always enjoyed the smile on her face as we talked a bit before or after the service. But I was most touched by the gifts Mrs. McGhee gave me.
She would find me in the hall of the church and slip a card into my hand – a Christmas one in Dec, birthday ones in February and September for my kids. In addition to a nice note, she would always include a few dollar bills. At first, I felt guilty taking the money. I am a white, middle class guy; I don’t need a few dollars from a poor, elderly widow.
But God used her generosity to teach me. Yes – my life was very different from Mrs. McGhee. But I am just as needy. Different but needy. She had been touched by grace and now that grace was flowing over to others. Who am I to think that I’ve got my life together so don’t need anything from a lady like her? I need to receive grace as well as give it. Mrs. McGhee’s generosity broke my proud heart and showed me a little deeper insight into God’s grace.
God’s community is one that should give and receive grace. Thank you, Mrs. McGhee, for teaching me. See you on the other side.