Contagious Giving (or How to Multiply the Feast)

July 24, 2009 | 17 comments

It all started with a conversation among women about shoes. Six hours later, we were sending 60 pairs to Haiti.

That’s what happens when hearers of the Word become doers of it. That’s what happens when we “eat this book” and let Christ turn our five loaves and two fishes into a feast for sharing.

“And he said to me:… eat all that thou shalt find: eat this book.” — Ez. 3:1


The seven of us were sitting on couches and recliners in the living room. We sipped second cups of coffee and propped God-inspired, leather-bound Nourishment on laps. Scripture told us that we needed to spend ourselves, to do what is right for the glory of God.

And that’s when the Multiplication of Giving began.

Don’t we women have so many shoes? Sandy asked. She said she cleared out her closet of extras this week and sent them to the city for the Haiti shoe drive.

Trish darted eyes at me, smile already forming. I shot a glance at Sarah. Joyce reached in a purse. And ’round the room it went. Words shared; dollar bills traded. Rides offered; shoes exchanged. Giddy voices; eager hearts.

Our morning meal — Bread of Life and Living Water — was about to become a potluck. We’d find a few pairs in our closets. We’d tell others before we left for Sioux Falls, S.D., at noon. We’d buy shoes at the local consignment shop, during the store’s 75 percent off sale. (How timely, this sale???)

But the shopkeeper gave us all 20 pairs for free!

A man came down the street with an extra pair.

A $20 bill here, a $20 bill there, and we could help with shipping collected shoes to barefoot friends in Haiti.

While we were at it, why not drop off magazines and books at the Banquet, which feeds homeless and low-income in Sioux Falls?

This was Contagious Giving: It started with the Word at 8:30 a.m. and multiplied in six hours. We delivered more than 60 pairs of shoes and collected more than 100 devotionals, magazines and children’s books for homeless and low-income people in the Sioux Falls area.

We ate the Book, and multiplied its goodness. (Others had already done the same! The shoe-drive coordinators had hoped to collect 250 pairs. They’ve received more than 2,000 pairs already.)

We don’t stop in the Book; we go through it to meet Him — and to feed others.

We collected words and
soles for Souls.
The Bread of Life put words in hands
and soles on feet
and asked us: Would we share?
Would we be the hands and feet of Jesus?

“Everything, you know, depends on the Book. God talks in the Book. There is a living Presence here. There is a Voice that comes in the Book, a Hand that reaches out, a throbbing Heart that beats. Everything roots in the Book. But you don’t stop in the book; you go through it to Him who comes through it to you.” — S.D. Gordon


How can we Eat the Book, and Multiply the Feast together? Here are some ideas. Please share yours in the comment box.

Collect food: Put a wicker basket at the entrance of your church. Encourage gifts of canned goods and cereal, for sure, but why not put in a package or Oreos or potato chips, too? Unexpected graces bring smiles.

Give words: Find out if your local feeding ministry hands out magazines or books to the needy. See if your church has outdated devotionals, such as Portals of Prayer, that would otherwise be tossed. And when you stop by to drop them off at the center, see if you can sign up to serve in the food line. We feed bodies and souls.

Equip the needy: Many food pantries, homeless shelters and feeding ministries collect school supplies, especially at this time of year.

Pass it on: Instill in your child the gift of Contagious Giving. Let them serve alongside you at a shelter. Help them examine their own bookshelves for books they might donate.

Donate flannel: Overseas mission agencies sometimes collect the fabric for blankets or diapers.

Thank Him; Ask Him: For what we have; for where we might spend ourselves.

“I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40

holy experience

This post is part of Ann’s “Walk with Him Wednesday.”
I’m walking on Friday,
slowly catching up,
but finding Him right beside me anyhow.

by | July 24, 2009 | 17 comments


  1. Runner Mom

    Hey,Jennifer! Just walk with Him each day, and you're fine!! Loved this! I can think of all the shoes and clothes that I enjoy wearing, but I have tons! THis is a wonderful idea! Amen!!

    I want to hear more about your morning… Bible Study? Is it a group from church or neighbors or just friends? I am looking at some restructuring within our Women's ministry–particualr Bible Studies! I would love your input!

    My email is [email protected] if you get a minute!!


  2. Arianne

    If we could just 'do' it instead of always thinking about it….

    Thanks Jennifer!

  3. Lyla Lindquist

    Spending ourselves… Hard for us to even know what that is sometimes, don't you think? I know it is for me. I'm on my way after work to pick up some Oreos to drop in our church's food pantry, by the way. A small thing, but a thing.

    If folks have no local resources to take advantage of "extra" Bibles, books and other literature, might I suggest Christian Resources International? Our church regularly sends "recycled" literature to them. They have a Bare Your Bookshelf drive that takes Bibles and Christian publications and gets them to specific churches and pastors in need overseas — matched to a denomination closest to your own. Thinking I'll check my shelf tonight after I take care of those Oreos.

  4. christy rose

    What a great experience! What a great idea! God is so creative and good!

  5. Beth E.

    What great ideas you have shared, and what worthy causes! Thanks so much for such a timely post…GOD'S perfect timing.


  6. RCUBEs

    What difference it makes when you are always in tuned with the Spirit. That's the amazing thing about God's blessings, when shared, instead of becoming lesser, the more it grows! That's a neat idea that you guys did!

    Have a great weekend and God bless.

  7. Deb

    My Girl Scout troop collects food for the food pantry at our church. Of course we asked for any and all donations, but we did make a special note that everyone enjoys a snack, Oreos, potato chips, etc. It made a fun and meaningful project for the girls.

  8. Epiphany

    Fantastic post (so much so I've posted the link on my blog). It makes it so easy to see how we can change the Word of God into the presence of God in our world.

  9. Kristen Love

    Contagious giving- I LOVE IT! I will share this story with my Tuesday night Bible study group. I have some great girls and I bet we will be INSPIRED by your story! Awesome!
    Thanks so much for sharing- you and your friends have the heart of Jesus 🙂

  10. Deb

    You're excitment has inspired me. I'm going to be on the lookout for opportunities to give.


  11. *~* Jenni *~*

    Great story! I think I am going to look for ways to give also. It IS contagious!

  12. Laura

    You can walk this way any day of the week as far as I'm concerned…

    What an inspiration you are! I'm checkin' out that Haiti shoe drive. Yes! I have way too many shoes!!

    Lord, thank you for Jennifer and her sister-friends. Let me be a blessing in this way…

  13. Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience

    Oh sister…
    You are all living Epistles, Gospel embodied… Doers of the Word.

    This is eating the Book and it being the blood in your veins, the fire in your heart.

    You kindle me.

    Jennifer? Continue stoking the fires. Jesus' ignites hearts and He's using you.

    *Thank you*

    All's grace,

  14. sarah

    great story. Sarah

  15. Jennifer

    There must be something in the air! I was in my parents' house this week and found old McDonalds toys from my childhood. Their church is sending a group down to Mexico, to a region where they don't have very much and the kids don't have many toys. So, two Wal-mart sized bags of McD's toys are on their way to Mexico to brighten up some child's life while they hear the story of Jesus instead of cluttering up the house.

  16. Warren Baldwin

    Very powerful story and post. This line especially: "We don't stop in the Book; we go through it to meet Him — and to feed others." This is a tremendous summation of the Gospel.

    Jesus called the disciples to him that they might be 'with' him. Later, as they preached the Gospel, the Sanhedrin (Judges) couldi tell that the disciples had been 'with' Jesus. Jesus made a difference in their lives.

    And he wants to in ours!

    Great call to faithful obedience.

  17. Carol

    Wonderful!!! YOU are contagious! Love-


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