He Opened the Floodgates

December 19, 2009 | 24 comments

Only once time in all of the Bible — just once — God commands us to test him.

“Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” — Malachi 3:10

Give wildly, God says, and then brace yourself: For grace will come a-gushing! And boy, has it ever.

Today, I’m woozy from the floodwater of grace flowing down. One man’s giving has set a tidal wave of generosity in motion.

A few days ago, I blogged about a man at my doorstep, anonymously giving away Applebee’s gift certificates. The man — of middle-class means — had spent $700 on gift cards so he could spread Jesus’ joy throughout northwest Iowa this Christmas season.

But he didn’t want anyone who received a card to know he was the one who’d given it. So God had given him the names of 28 “elves” to help him give away the cards. I was one of the assigned givers. You can read more about it by clicking here.

But it doesn’t stop here at the doorsteps of elves. Because giving like this is contagious.

One man’s act — his obedient response to the voice of God — is spreading across northwest Iowa in a furiously beautiful flood of grace.

Among the stories are these:

* One of the elves added $100 in other gift cards when delivering the Applebee’s card to a person in need.

* Another man — not one of the original elves — read about the story and has decided to give his children hundreds of dollars this Christmas to give away to people in need.

* Another elf sent a text message this morning, saying: “Our night janitor is an older lady, and she said her day was terrible when I asked. … So I went and got the card and told her ‘God loves you and so do I.’ She got teary and said it made her day.”

* This morning, the same anonymous giver who showed up at my doorstep stopped by the home of Chris over at Experiencing Grace & Peace. Chris tells his story over at his blog in a post entitled: Jesus in a Ballcap.

* And this … this one leaves me breathless. I received this email today from a woman who works with the man who started this chain of giving.

She writes:

“He gave my husband and me a gift card to give to someone else also. We usually sit at the same table at lunch every day. I can’t get his voice outa my head! He sat down to have lunch with us on Tuesday and said, “You are not going to believe what I have to do!”

Then he told us that God gave him the names of all of these people that were to get the Applebee’s gift cards. I bet he thought we were going to make fun of him. As he walked away from the table he turned around and said, “You all probably think I am nuts!”

The first thing that came to my mind and out of my mouth was….”Everyone thought Noah was nuts too!”

One of the receivers of a gift card was a man at work who works with my husband. He is the kind of person who makes fun of Christianity and has a very bad mouth. My husband listens to KNWC (a Christian radio station) as often as he can at work.

This guy thought it was all a joke. He was positive that no body would just give him a gift!

I think that the man that got the card is finally starting to understand this Christianity thing. He talked to my husband today about he and his wife going to a church service with us.

God does have a way of showing us how he is working to keep spreading the news that he was born and died for our salvation! And that His gift to us is FREE! All we have to do is let Him work in our hearts.”

It started with a Voice, an obedient man and a generous heart. Doorstep to doorstep to doorstep, the giving chain grew … and grew … and grew. And today? It’s wildly, deliriously, dizzily out of control.

Yes, Father, giving really is contagious! I pray, Lord, that there be no cure. One man tested you — just like You said — and You are a God who does not lie. You opened floodgates, just like You said You would. You took a few fish and loaves, and multiplied them over … and over … and over again.

And we dine — we feast! — on the Bread of Life. We love you. Amen.

by | December 19, 2009 | 24 comments


  1. ~*Michelle*~

    Oh what a beautiful testimony of God's generous spirit poured into so many lives.

    I love how you pray for no cure to the infectious/contagious giving spirit. May it continue to spread forever…..let not one heart be touched along the way.

    Merry Christmas, Jennifer!

  2. Andrea

    I have Holy Spirit bumps all over..what an amazing testimony…our actions do speak much louder than our words.
    Blessings, andrea

  3. Chris Godfredsen

    God is sooo cool! One man blessed to be a blessing has loosed the floodgates.

  4. Chris Godfredsen

    God is sooo cool! One man blessed to be a blessing has loosed the floodgates.

  5. Amber

    I LOVVVVVVVVVE your posts!!! Praise God.

  6. Doug Spurling

    Prov 19:17 "He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, And He will pay back what he has given."

    Praise the Lord.

  7. Rose


    I loved this story when you first posted it and how wonderful it is to see the ripple effects of being obedient to God. God is faithful in the one thing he challenges us to test Him in. Not only like the man in your story but also blessings within your own home when you faithfully give your tithes and offerings.
    My husband and I have witnessed it time and time again in the past weeks and months. We know it's God. Who else but God could move someone (my husband) through the red tape of Government to be approved for disability within 3 months of applying. NOT ONE denial, not one jumping through hoops of paper work. Just straight through! That's just one thing, granted a big one, but it's been like that with us. Praise God for the man who was obedient. It's so heartwarming to hear about those who were blessed!
    Merry Christmas

  8. Red Letter Believers

    I love the allusion to Noah — it took him a 100 years to build that ark. That's a whole lotta nuts!

    If anyone reading this comment hasnt read the Hole in the Gospel by Rich stearns, do it.

    David Rupert

  9. Lady Claudette

    What a great story, thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Pam

    Excellent testimony of God working through people!

  11. Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam

    I am so enjoying this story–I hope you'll keep telling us the individual stories as they come to you! Don't you just love how God moves?!! Thank you for sharing His love in motion!
    Merry Christmas!

  12. Wylie


  13. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Loved reading about this generous spirit a few days ago; glad to know it is seeding toward kingdom gain.

    Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to you and your precious family.


  14. RCUBEs

    Beautiful, inspiring and powerful! Because of Him! Glory to God! Just popping over to greet you a Merry Christmas and God bless.

  15. Whidbey Woman

    Awesome post. Merry CHRISTmas!

  16. Laura

    I read the gift card post and am glad for this little update. I think the whole thing is simply remarkable. what a difference this man is making, and you through your elfwork. Can't we all learn a little something here? I'm thinking long and hard what God is saying to me through this story.

    Thanks for sharing it.

  17. aubrey

    How inspiring, I pray that He will ask me to be an "elf." Thank you Jenn for sharing!

    Merry Christmas, to the Lee family!

  18. Deb

    He always blesses obedience.

    Delights in it, doesn't He.

    And when we see this kind of obedience, it compels us,

    To listen more carefully.

    To live with more abandon.

    Sweet dreams.

  19. A Simple Country Girl

    all because an ordinary man listened with his God-focused heart, extraordinary gifts were exchanged…


  20. Jon P

    And all because he chose to listen. It makes you wonder how many times we have been asked to do something and just blown it off?! I have great respect for this man for doing something that his mind probably said "are you crazy" but his heart said "YES".
    Love it!!
    What a Joy it has been to be involved with and to read more about!

  21. optigrl987

    Look what one man of faith did over 2000 years ago and it still lives on. For in rising, He restored our life, just like all of you are doing to make a difference in someone's life.
    And the blessings will rain down, healing those who cry out in need and then rainbows will grace the skies from the those who give and praise.
    Merry Christmas Jennifer!

  22. Deborah Ann

    *WHOA*!!! This is the most beautiful story I ever heard. Thank you so much for sharing it, and for the part you played in it. I can't wait to bless somebody!

    When I first got here, I thought you were giving away an Applebees gift card, and I thought "I'm in." But the story of the amazing giving of gifts is soooo much better than the gift itself. You never fail to amaze me, Jennifer.

    God bless you, and Merry CHRISTmas!

  23. Shirley

    Oh wow! Oh wow! Now this is what it's about!!!

  24. sanjeet

    what an amazing testimony…our actions do speak much louder than our words.

    Work from home India


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