Once upon a time, in the lush wilderness of New Zealand,I embarked on a journey of self-discovery.a while before I became a Christian. Nevertheless, I was or not there was a God worthy of praise. At this stage of my life, I thought I followed Jesus, but I actually followed a New Age concept of Him.
As I wandered off the beaten path, my eye caught an odd sight in the lush forest. I was surprised to find an old, rusted door frame in the middle of the forest, let alone one without a door. But there I saw it, a small folded sheet of paper, which was pushed into a crack of its damaged frame and a note that read, "Open me."
I was intrigued and opened the folded sheet to find a small, beautifully crafted cross necklace attached to it and a note that read, "May this cross be a reminder of the love and hope that Jesus brings to your life. God is real."
No name. No number. No address.
I was struck by the selflessness of this anonymous gift, and I couldn't shake the feeling that it was a sign from something greater. An answer to my "prayer. This small but powerful gesture had a profound impact on me. It left me wondering who had left this for me and what kind of God they served. How did they know I was hurting and in search of God? What kind of person would go out of their way to leave a message of hope for a stranger without taking any credits for it?
It was a mystery that stayed with me long after my hike was over.
As I prepared to depart New Zealand and return to Switzerland, I felt a strong pull in my heart to leave behind this precious gift and its inspiring message in a place where it would be found by someone in need of its uplifting words. I carefully placed it in a hidden corner of the airport, hoping that it would bring the same hope to someone else's life that it had brought to me.
Years later, when I became a Born Again Christian, I came across Matthew 6:3 in my first pursuit to reading the Bible:
"But when you give to the needy,
do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing."
Suddenly, it all clicked. The person who left that anonymous gift in the forest was a true embodiment of this passage - they were giving without expectation of credit or recognition, simply to bring a message of hope to another person.
And though it was but a mere whisper of the Gospel's grand message, it was a seed that others who crossed my path kept watering as I embarked on this journey of seeking Jesus. Nothing has moved me like this solitary seed of truth on a dirty notepaper, and God ultimately made it blossom into a beautiful revelation of the saving power of the Cross.
In that moment, I realized that even the tiniest seed of selflessness can sprout into a giant oak of change. Despite this small act of kindness barely scratching the surface of the saving message, the ripple effect led to something so profound.
It was then that the light-bulb went off, and I knew that sharing the Gospel through the joy of selfless giving was a mission I had to undertake.
This experience has stayed with me throughout the years and has been the inspiration behind "Gifts with a Purpose" in my statement shop.
Jesus is saying that if our motive for giving is to draw attention to ourselves, then we are trading an eternal reward for a temporal one. It is not as important whether others know about our giving. It is important, however, to examine the motives behind why we made your giving known to others.
Embark with me on this journey of thoughtfully-crafted giving, where every purchase plants a seed of hope and love in someone's life without seeking recognition.