There's a couple in town who have been a part of FOCUS Minnesota for a couple of years. They donate goods, donate time, and have donated money to our shared Orthodox ministry to the poor. They gave me a call last week with a desire to make a donation but the money has a very interesting story behind it.
This couple own a business. For a while, a few years back, they had an employee who was a good kid and a good staff member. She went on to other things, but paid them a visit this summer. When they sat down to talk, their former employee announced - no, confessed to them - that for all the time she worked at their company she continually and habitually stole from them. A little bit here and a little bit there. Over time the reality of this theft began to bother her conscience, and an unease and a sadness grew within her until she couldn't hold it in any more. And in the case of this young woman crisis of conscience --- with God. A genuine change began to happen in her life. She felt it was God urging this theft to the surface, God pricking her heart, and God guiding her back to her former employers to reveal the truth to them. As our FOCUS supporters were trying to process this news, and it was truly an out-of-the-blue-never-would-have-guessed-it shock to them, the girl reached into her bag and laid $2000 on the table in front of them. Two thousand dollars in cash. I'll bet there was a moment where they all just looked at the money. And then in the next beat our FOCUS volunteers said, "we don't want this money for ourselves, this is what we want: you can give it to a charity you know of or we can give it to a charity we know of. The former employee really didn't want another thing to do with the money, Her sole purpose was to confess this theft and breach of trust, figure out what the amount could be, and return the stolen money. And then she was told about FOCUS Minnesota. Afterwards, I got a phone call and went to hear the whole, rather remarkable, story.
Please consider what transpired here: a person steals some money, it was easy to do, no harm done. Except to herself. By her own admission, it was God who led her to own up to the wrong and to try and make it right, and thanks be to God, with contrition she turned away from this sin. FOCUS Minnesota was given $2000 and was able to pay its partnership fee to our food bank/supplier and buy in bulk a lot of non-perishable food. Food shelf donations markedly decline in the summer months, by the way. The end of the story is not so much a satisfied sigh that she did the right thing and look, FOCUS got 2K out of the deal. The real end of the story is that nothing belongs to us, that all gifts come from God, by His grace, His mercy, and His bountiful loving kindness. God's action in this person's life and through the couple who support FOCUS Minnesota, was all about grace, mercy and love. No one took ownership of the two thousand dollars.....except the poor and the hungry