Introducing Our Online Global Platform

I am thrilled to introduce:

On this new site you’ll find:

  • Short films on contemporary Gospel Patrons
  • Inspiring articles with original illustrations
  • Training videos from world-class business and ministry leaders


  • And journal entries from generosity leaders around the world


I hope you enjoy and explore the site, spread the word, and stay in touch.

For Jesus’ Fame,

John Rinehart

A Big Announcement

Very, very soon we are launching some new resources I’m really excited about! Over the past six months we took our Gospel Patrons film crew on the road to Atlanta, Dallas, and Oklahoma City.

I had the privilege of interviewing business and ministry leaders. We filmed them in their homes, at their offices, on a morning run, and with their families.

I wanted to be able to take you behind-the-scenes to show you the experiences that shaped a few of the men and women living out this message today.

These are people who believe that generosity is our only reasonable response to a God who generously gave us his one and only son. 

We also invited several Gospel Patrons from different global cities to write about their own journey of generosity, their key habits, and what they wish they knew when they were 25. Through it all, I’ve received an amazing education from some extraordinary people and I’m thrilled to be able share it all with you.

We’ve had an excellent team of people working hard on these projects for months as well as faithful prayer warriors lifting us up and most of all an incomparable God who has opened doors, orchestrated introductions, and given us powerful stories to tell.

And because of God’s generous provision for us, all of these resources will be available for free! I’m really, really excited because I believe these resources will encourage and inspire you in your walk with Jesus and the part he has for you to play in your corner of the world.

Grateful to serve you…Stay tuned…It’s coming soon,


You Are Greatly Loved

“For you are greatly loved.” –Daniel 9:23

These are the most powerful words that can be spoken. And here they came as words from heaven to a man named Daniel. Daniel lived in a time when God’s people were in great distress. They had rebelled against God and turned away from his commands. They didn’t listen. They refused to obey. And now they were under the punishment of God.

But Daniel prayed. He cried out to God for mercy. He fasted and prayed. He confessed his sins and the sins of his people. And it’s here that these beautiful words break through for while he was praying God sent the angel Gabriel with a message for Daniel. This heavenly messenger who came in swift flight speaks to Daniel, a man in anguish, saying:

“At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved.”

What a wave of grace must have washed over Daniel in that moment. No matter what he had done, no matter how dark the sins of his people, God still loved him. This good news must have filled his soul like a deep breath of mountain air. These words must have illuminated the discouragement within the way a flash of lightning makes everything visible. Like a gentle morning rain on a thirsty ground, this message from God must have refreshed Daniel’s inner being.

For you are greatly loved. What would change in your life if you heard those magnificent words from heaven? What fears would be run out? What worry would disappear? What strivings in your life would cease? What new strength would emerge in your heart if only you knew and believed that you are great loved?

Not a little love from a small lover, but a great love from an infinite God. A love that never changes. A love that never fades. A love from which you cannot be separated. A love you can never lose. A love you did not earn and a love you cannot buy. The love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong. This was the love spoken to Daniel that day. And this is the love God still speaks to you.

For you are greatly loved.

Giving When You Only Have A Little

Two days after Easter I turned 36 and my most surprising birthday present came from my daughter.

I have a five year-old boy and a six and a half year-old girl. And as a part of their Easter egg spoil, they each came into possession of three quarters… big money for little people.

After a special birthday breakfast, a bounty of birthday cards, and play-time with their new Easter Play-Doh, my daughter held out her hand and said, “Here you go!” Into my hand fell two quarters. My heart melted.

Out of the very little she had, she wanted to give… to me. My wife hadn’t put her up to this. It was her gift and it was beautiful. When I asked her why she wanted to do that she said, “I wanted to be generous.”

An hour earlier I had opened a card from my father-in-law who generously included a hundred dollar bill, which he playfully referred to as “Uncle Ben”. These two gifts, $100 and $0.50 came back to back and both were loving acts of generosity.

Giving To Our Father

When we think about giving too often we compare our giving with that of others. If we’re giving quarters and they’re giving hundreds we feel insignificant. If we’re giving hundreds and they’re giving quarters, we can feel more important. But when our giving is to our Father does it really matter?

Giving is our response of love to our Father. It’s a declaration of our trust in his provision. It’s an act of participation in his work. It’s not a competition, it’s a gift to our Father in Heaven.

God wants us to bring what we have, not what we don’t have. Jesus loved the widow who put in the two copper coins when it was all she had to live on. He didn’t tell her that she couldn’t afford to give. Instead, he praised her publicly. (Mark 12:41-44) Would your giving cause Jesus to praise you publicly?

Generosity Starts Small

Jesus said generosity starts small. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10) Our future faithfulness could be predicted by our present faithfulness with what we have right now. I know you don’t have somebody else’s much. That’s okay. But what are you doing with your little?

Giving is one of the weakest areas of our Christian discipleship. Eighty years ago the average Christian in America gave 3% of their income to charitable causes. Now, it’s 2%. In two generations the needle has not moved in the right direction. We enjoy more toys and luxuries than our parents and grandparents, but we love money more than they did.

What we need is a revival of generosity.

Talk About It

Somehow we’re afraid to talk about money and giving. People get squirmy, so we shy away. Despite the fact that Jesus talked about money more than any other subject, including heaven and hell, we’re okay letting it be off limits.

We’re afraid of condemning people. We don’t want to make new laws. Meanwhile, we allow the love of money to go unchecked and unchallenged. That’s not loving to people or honoring to God.

But it’s not too late. We can learn from Pastor Tim Keller in New York City who recently said in an interview, “I’ve not spoken about generosity enough. I’ve probably shied away from the topic, even though the Bible talks about it a great deal.”

Let’s start the conversation now. Let’s talk about generosity more and see what God does in our hearts. Let’s pursue faithfulness right where we are, with the little or much that we have. 

To the God who owns the universe and everything in it, all our giving is like my daughter’s two quarters. He loves when we stop looking at others and approach him with our hands held out in love bringing our gift to our Father.

The Story of Good Friday

Jesus died. We call this Good Friday. This is the story.

The religious leaders hated Jesus. To them He was a religious nuisance who was stealing their thunder. He was “too dynamic to be safe,” and they wanted Him extinguished. So they secretly arrested Him, and while most of Jerusalem slept, Jesus Christ was on trial before the whole council of chief priests, elders, and scribes.

Many false accusations were made against Him, but when the witnesses couldn’t agree, the high priest finally questioned Jesus himself.

“I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God?” Caiaphas demanded.

“I am,” Jesus said, “and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

“He has uttered blasphemy,” cried Caiaphas. “What is your judgment?”

Outraged, the religious leaders angrily spit on Jesus, mocked Him, and punched Him. That dark night, they condemned Jesus to the death penalty. A few hours later, at dawn, Jesus was brought to trial before the Roman governor over the province of Judea.

“You will not speak to me?” Pilate said to Jesus. “Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”

Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.”

Pilate asked Him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?”

But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Jesus was facing crucifixion, and under the Roman Empire, people feared the cross. Historians from the time of Jesus tell us that crucifixion was “the most wretched of deaths.” In the ancient world, the cross was offensive, a sign of the greatest punishment and humiliation. Crucifixion was often a means of “breaking the will of conquered peoples and of bringing mutinous troops under control.”

Crucifixion was the death of slaves, thieves, prostitutes, and rebels. It was so gruesome that most ancient writers avoided describing it. Yet in the face of the cross, Jesus did now waver; He did not recant; He did not apologize for His claims. Pilate questioned if he was making the right decision concerning Jesus’ fate; however, the people prevailed by shouting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

Pilate handed Jesus to a battalion of around 600 soldiers for a preliminary beating—His second in the span of a few hours. Victims of crucifixion were first brutalized by what the Bible calls “flogging” or “scourging.” The Romans were experts in torture, and before a crucifixion they would flog their victims so that they would be too weak to kick or fight back when being nailed to the cross. The soldiers stripped Jesus naked and tied His hands to an upright post.

Then a short whip called a “flagrum” made of several leather cords, “in which small iron balls or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied” was violently swung to smack against Jesus’ bare back, butt, and legs. The iron balls pounded into Jesus’ flesh, severely bruising His body, while the pieces of bone ripped open the skin and tissues of His back.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article in 1986 describing the medical impact on Jesus’ body, noting that “As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock.”

Next, the group of hostile soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns, pressed it into Jesus’ scalp, and then struck Him in the head with a reed. They clothed Him in a purple robe, mocked Him, spit on Him, and beat Him again. At last they marched Him out to publicly crucify Him.

The soldiers placed a 75-pound crossbar on His shredded shoulders and demanded He march to The Place of the Skull. By this time, Jesus was too weak to carry the cross, so another man, Simon the Cyrene, was forced to bear it.

When they arrived at the spot, five-to-seven-inch nails, like railroad spikes, were pounded through Jesus’ wrists and feet. Again, a doctor describes this process, saying, “the driven nail would crush or sever the rather large sensorimotor median nerve. The stimulated nerve would produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms.” Now immobilized, Jesus was again stripped naked, and His cross was tilted upright for all to see.

His humiliation was complete.

While Jesus hung between heaven and earth, each breath was struggle. His body weight pulled against His outstretched arms, impeding His ability to exhale. For three straight hours, the only way Jesus could breathe was to push up on the nail driven through His feet, thus allowing His lungs to collapse. His mangled back continued to scrape against the splintery wood of the cross.

Breathing hurt. Everything hurt. There was no relief.

The pain of crucifixion was so unequaled that a new word had to be invented to describe it—excruciating—which in Latin literally means, “out of the cross.”

At this point the crowds who once loved His preaching now walked by and insulted Jesus with hatred.

“Save yourself, and come down from the cross!” shouted the chief priests.

“You’re the Christ, O King of Israel? Come down now from the cross. We want to see and believe,” added the scribes caustically.

“He saved others, but He can’t even save Himself.”

“Need a little wine, King?” said a soldier who pressed a nasty sponge dripping with sour wine against Jesus’ lips.

If Jesus was simply a pious man and no more, what we might expect in this moment would be for Him to cry out, “I’m innocent. This is injustice!” But that’s not what happened.

Instead, dripping with blood and gasping for air, Jesus prayed for His enemies. He knew His death was a sacrifice for sin, and Jesus prayed for grace to be shown to His murderers and mockers. Jesus said aloud,

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who among us could do this? Neither you, nor I could have ever prayed such a prayer from the cross. Even the greatest religious teachers do not have this depth of compassion.

To make sure Jesus was dead, a professional executioner drove a spear up through Jesus’ side, piercing His heart. Out spilled blood and water—Jesus was dead.

This is no myth or metaphor. History’s unanimous testimony is that Jesus died on the cross. He suffered the punishment of a hardened criminal, and Jesus really died.

An excerpt from the book, Gospel Patrons, p. 138-143

Jesus Can’t Afford Me

Guest Post by Matt Mancinelli

Five years ago I was sitting in a nice hotel suite in Southern California when a man shared a story I will never forget.

A dozen of us were participating in a retreat called a Journey of Generosity. This man had been a highly paid businessman who also sat on the board of a non-profit ministry. He shared with me that the board asked him to consider a staff position leading the ministry. “You can’t afford me,” was his immediate reply. He was good-spirited and somewhat joking, but after all, this was a small non-profit where he would be paid a fraction of what he was currently making.

But that night he had a dream. Jesus approached him and said, “Follow me.” But the man saw himself look at Jesus and say, “You can’t afford me.”

I had chills hearing the story and I still get chills thinking about it today. I could see myself responding the same way he did. I might not explicitly say to Jesus, “You can’t afford me” but I’d find a more subtle way to tell the God of the Universe that my current paycheck is more important to me that what he’s asking me to do.

Bought By Jesus

When I look to Scripture, I’m challenged by the cost Paul willingly embraced to follow Jesus. In Acts 20 Paul was saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders and preparing to sail to Jerusalem when he told his dear friends, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.”

Paul willingly moved toward prison and hardship. This was not just a lower-paying job or an inconvenient volunteer opportunity! Paul didn’t ask if the mission could afford his salary or make his life more comfortable. He knew something deeper was going on because a few sentences later he told the elders, “Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”

I’m not my own. I’m not in charge. I have been purchased and paid for up front by the blood of Christ. As the old hymn says, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.”  It’s time I stop adding a list of qualifications to that statement.

Two New Responses

So now I’m working to cultivate two new responses in my heart:

  1. I’m bought by the blood of Jesus. I’m not worth anything apart from that, but worth much in light of that. Anything Jesus asks me to do, I want to be willing to do because I’m fully his. When I first came to know Jesus I wanted to follow Him radically, but since then I’ve softened. Now I’m working again to remember whose I am again.
  2. My life is oriented around Jesus’ calling. Anytime I get asked to look at a new opportunity, I want to remember there’s only one real consideration: Is this what God is calling me and my family to do? That’s the factor that trumps all other factors, including what the pay is, how much flexibility the job has, or whether the job is based in gorgeous Colorado or some struggling country around the world.

Heavenly Father, I don’t ever want to tell you that you can’t afford me. Instead, I give myself to you, ready to say yes to whatever you call me to, no matter what the salary or suffering. I’m nervous and scared as I type this prayer, still believing that I know what’s best for me, not you. But please continue to cultivate my heart to be about you and your Kingdom and to want to know you and walk in your calling for my life more than anything else. Amen.


Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 5.38.16 PMMatt Mancinelli serves as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Volunteers with Generous Giving and is also on the board of The Seed Company. He and his wife Loretta and their two baby girls live in Orlando, Florida. You can write to him at:


Money Changes Everything

If you’re going to read any book on money this year, one of my favorites is Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller.

counterfeit gods

Keller, an insightful pastor in New York City, says this:

“As a pastor I’ve had people come to me to confess that they struggle with almost every kind of sin. Almost. I cannot recall anyone ever coming to me and saying, ‘I spend too much money on myself. I think my greedy lust for money is harming my family, my soul, and people around me.'”

None of us think we love money. None of us think we’re greedy. Even this week I came across an article about how a pro athlete diminished his career by chasing money instead of championships. The journalist wrote: “Now, let’s be clear: “Falling in love with money doesn’t make ‘Melo evil or even greedy. Most every player craves money, and the more, the better.”

But this book argues that greed and the idolatry of money are very real temptations for us all, whether we have a lot or a little.

Idolatry Defined

Throughout the book, Keller defines idolatry this way:

  • Anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give you.
  • False lovers that promise to make you feel loved and valued.
  • Looking to some created thing to give you what only God himself can give.
  • Elevating some finite value or object to be The Answer.
  • Taking some incomplete joy of this world and building your entire life on it.

We know from Scripture that money is deceitful. Jesus tells us that one of the reasons so few Christians live fruitful lives is because the deceitfulness of riches chokes out the word and it proves unfruitful (Mark 4:19). We may go to church, we may even read our Bibles and pray, but really at the center of our lives God is not calling the shots, money is.

Money is the driving force, the dominating influence. Money causes us to get up early and stay up late. It’s what we worry about. It’s a major source of fear, anxiety, and stress. If we’re handling it poorly, we can feel worthless and depressed. If we’re prospering, we can forget God.

Deep Idols

Keller’s genius shines in his understanding of deep idols. He says that the love of money looks very different for different people.

“Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life. Such people usually don’t spend much money and live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested, so they can feel completely secure in the world. Others want money for access to social circles and to make themselves beautiful and attractive. These people do spend money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case, money functions as an idol and yet, because of various deep idols, it results in very different patterns of behavior.” (p. 65)

The reason we love and trust money, the reason why we think about it all the time, the reason we keep such a close eye on our money is often because we’re looking to money to give us power, approval, comfort, or control. If we have money, we’re free. If we have it, we’re accepted. If we have it, we can relax. If we have it, we’re secure. But power, approval, comfort and control don’t come from money, they come from God.

God Is Better

The way to escape the love of money is to see that God is a better provider than money. If you long for approval, go to God. If you’re feeling weak, ask God who gives power to the faint.

FOR POWER: Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

FOR APPROVAL: John says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)

FOR COMFORT: Paul tells us, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…comforts us in all our affliction.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

FOR CONTROL: Job reminds us, “I know that you [God] can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

Keller concludes, “Jesus must become more beautiful to your imagination, more attractive to your heart, than your idol.” When that happens the empty promises of money will entice you less and less and money will no longer change everything.

What’s Life All About?

12 Purposes To Give Your Life To

Last year my family and I spent six months in England, living a quiet little life in a cottage near Oxford. We went for country bike rides down one lane roads and walks through open fields. We’d stop to say hello to a horse we named Chester. We’d watch cows graze through the fields all around us.

For a couple of Californians, this peaceful Oxfordshire experience was closer to something in a book than our normal life. But we eventually returned home and our season of quiet evaporated like a dream. Phone calls and fire trucks rang again. The pace of Southern California life hadn’t lost a step.

Sometimes a slow and secluded life can sound so idyllic. But the bigger question we have to wrestle with is: What is life all about?

The Shortcut

The Bible gives us the shortcut to the answer in a little, seemingly insignificant verse. The verse doesn’t carry any riveting dialogue or advance the storyline of the early church, but still it hones in on our raison d’etre. The verse is a summary of the life of David, the man after God’s own heart.

Acts 13:36 says, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption.”

This is David who defeated Goliath and the Philistines, David who became the King of Judah and the King of Israel, David who had the ark of God brought to Jerusalem, David who repented after his adultery with Bathsheba, David who fought the battles of the Lord with his mighty men, David who made plans to build the temple. Here his life gets summed up in one phrase: he served the purpose of God in his own generation. That’s it! The purpose of life is to serve God’s purposes in our own generation.

Our Story Too

David didn’t get to live to see our day of airplanes and iPhones. He didn’t live to see the success of Psalm 23. He played his part and that was it. When he was done, he went home. And this is our story too. When God saved us, he had plans for us, things he wanted us to do. Ephesians 2:10 says that God prepared good works for us, “that we should walk in them.”

We don’t create our purpose; we discover it as we walk with God. Romans 12 says some of us are gifted to teach, others to exhort, others to give, others to lead, and others to show mercy. 1 Peter 4 says some will speak and some will serve. Ephesians 4 says some will be apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. But no matter what part you are or are not, “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)

God chose you to be a part of his body and whatever part you are, whatever role you play, your purpose is to serve the purposes of God in your own generation. (Acts 13:36)

God’s Purposes

So what are God’s purposes? If we want to serve God where should we begin? Here are twelve things that immediately come to mind from Scripture:

  1. God values his word and says it won’t pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
  2. God is building his church. (Matthew 16:18)
  3. God desires that none should perish, but all should repent and believe. (2 Peter 3:9; Mark 1:15)
  4. God cares about the small stuff, like giving a cup of cold water in his name. (Matthew 10:42; 25:31-46)
  5. God cares about the big stuff, like being his witnesses to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19)
  6. God values our service to widows and orphans. (James 1:27)
  7. God cares about how we love our families. (Ephesians 5:25-33; 1 Timothy 3:4)
  8. God wants us to pray. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 18:1)
  9. God wants his word preached. (2 Timothy 4:2; Mark 1:38)
  10. God loves children and wants them to come to him. (Luke 18:16; Mark 9:42)
  11. God values our work when we do it for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
  12. God values all that we do, even eating and drinking, when it’s done for his glory. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

We find our purpose in God’s purposes. Slow or fast, quiet or loud, private or public, these are not the main questions of life. What we really need to ask ourselves is: Am I locked in on God’s purposes?

God gives you and I the chance to serve his purposes in our generation. Will we take it?

The Moment Every Wealthy Person Has Experienced

There’s a moment every wealthy person has experienced. They may not talk about it. They may not even realize it. In fact, it’s probably not the story they tell. But it happened and it changed everything.

The one thing I know about that moment for you is that it was way beyond your control. You may have steered your parachute, but you were riding on someone else’s wind. 

It happened when a successful businessperson took an interest in your career and was willing to mentor you. Why you? You don’t know.

You got a big break at an undeserved time. You were the low man on the org chart, the third string player. It didn’t make any sense, but your number got called and that changed the course of your life.

You were born into a family with wealth. You didn’t choose it. It was just your lot and as a result opportunity after opportunity has come your way.

You got accepted into a school that opened many new doors for you. You may not have had the grades for it, but that one moment set in motion a path you could have never expected.

You met a friend of a friend who became your business partner. Your networking skills didn’t do it, it just happened. And this new partnership accelerated your growth.

You had a boss who liked you and put you in a position to succeed. You couldn’t have engineered it, but it was a game-changer. 

You invested big at the perfect time, right before the boom, the split or the spike. How did you know it would play out like that? The truth is you didn’t. But it worked out in your favor.

You sold your business, but then the new owner folded and you got all your clients back. That was not in your plan, but it absolutely unlocked the next season of your success.

The investors backed you when others were equally deserving. And that was the tipping point for everything that has come since.

Your Moment = God’s Grace

Whatever that moment was for you, I want you to see it as God’s grace to you. God intervened in your story when he didn’t have to. He flipped the script. He changed your circumstances and because of it you prospered. The Bible tells us it wasn’t random or it wasn’t you, it was God:

“You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:18)

The command in this verse is to remember. Can you remember your moment? Can you think back to what happened for you? God wants you to remember he’s the one who put the wind in your sails. He made your moment happen. 

God’s Grace —> Your Purpose 

God’s favor comes for God’s purposes. God chose to bless you, like Abraham, so that you would be a blessing to others. Not all that falls into your lap is supposed to stay there. Much of what ends up in your hands is supposed to pass through your hands to others.

Instead of forgetting your moment, instead of thinking it’s been all up to you, or will be in the future, remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.

Remembering your moment is the highway to humility. Understanding your moment is the pathway to your purpose. Appreciating your moment is the gratitude that leads to a life of generosity.

The Secret Of Being Content

What I Learned From A Homeless Man In San Diego

My brother and I were walking in downtown San Diego on our way to dinner when I heard a voice that stopped me in my tracks. I hadn’t seen where the voice came from or who it belonged to, but amidst the noise of the crowded city streets these words found their way deep into my heart.

I stopped, took two steps back, and turned towards a man in the shadows. “What did you say?” I asked.

“Can you help me out? I haven’t eaten all day,” said the voice.

There was something humble and honest about him.

“Sure. Can we buy you dinner?” we asked.

Across the street was a small deli where he picked out a loaf of bread along with some meat and cheese. After we paid for it and stepped outside, I said to the man, “What’s your name?”


“Chris, I’m John and this is my brother Jim. We want you to know that God loves you and this dinner tonight is from him.”

The next thing he said shocked me. Even now, months later, his words still ring clearly in my mind.

“I know God loves me whether I eat or not,” Chris said.

I didn’t know what to say. In my 35 years of life, I’ve never heard anyone say that.

And he said it with such confidence. He said it out of experience. I’m sure there were days Chris hadn’t eaten at all and other times he had only very little. But his confidence in God’s love was unshakeable.

After a moment of silence he burst out saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

And I picked it up, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

“…who pardons your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” he finished.

“That’s Psalm 103!” I exclaimed. “You have the word in here,” I said pointing to my temple.

“No, I have the word in here,” he said pointing to his heart.

We gave Chris hugs and sent him on his way with some extra money so he could get a shower. Jim and I carried on to dinner, blown away by our interaction with Chris. Chris had faced hunger, poverty, and homelessness and found God faithful. At rock bottom, God was there.

I kept wondering, could I say, “I know God loves me whether I eat or not”? Or if the food ran out, the fridge went empty, and the income dried up, would I say that God failed me, that God was not good, not loving, not faithful? But if God is loving even when the food runs out, then why I am worried about anything?

Chris had a huge view of God and it was challenging. I want to see God the way he does, as a God who doesn’t owe me anything, not even food. God knows what I need and when I need it and I can trust that he gives and takes away in his wisdom and for his purposes. Whether I have little or much, whether I am in need or have plenty, whether I am hungry or abound, I want God’s word deep in my heart so that I can say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me.”