Desiring to bless their community at Easter, the Renton (Wash.) Church bought $2,000 worth of grocery store gift cards and gave them all away.
Their plans for the Easter weekend began along the lines of a one-time music and preaching event. When they weighed the cost of a one-and-done event against a demonstration of grace, the choice was simple.
The newly formed Renton Warriors Pathfinder Club assembled 200 gift bags containing the grocery store cards, a tract written by Maxwell on the true meaning of Easter, a music CD, candy and a flier of upcoming events at the church. Following a special communion service on March 31, 2018, the Pathfinders, along with volunteers from the church’s community services and witnessing class groups, took to the streets and looked for people to bless.
Gloria Henry, witnessing class member, told of one gentleman who couldn’t believe he was getting something for free.
“I told him Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ gift of His life because He loved us, and we were spreading a little love. ‘Thank You,’ the man replied, but didn’t know what to do next,” says Henry. “I mentioned that he could pay it forward by spreading a little love. ‘That’s a good idea,’ he said, and looked for someone else to pass the blessing to.”
Many people responded with surprise and joy — one woman gave the pastor a hug. But not everyone wanted the free gift. This surprised the young Pathfinders, but it was a living lesson in response to the gospel. Renton Church pastor Randy Maxwell explained that, though Jesus died for all, not everyone appreciates the gift.
“The outreach opened my eyes to how God gave His gift to us without any strings attached or expectations from us,” says Akua Owusu-Ansah, Pathfinder leader. “It taught me to be grateful for His love and gift every day and to learn to give more to others rather than to take from them.”