The God Pocket
August 12, 2020
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There is a subtext to the story of the Good Samaritan that is easily overlooked, and it has to do with money management.
The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
A denarius was a day’s wage. In today’s dollars, based on the median income in DC, this is $594 before taxes. What that tells me is this: the Good Samaritan created financial margin so that he could be a blessing in these kind of situations!
In his book You Were Born for This, Bruce Wilkinson shares about a divine appointment in Johannesburg, South Africa. Late one night after a speaking event, Bruce and his son, David, had a craving for ice cream. The restaurant they chose had just closed, but Bruce wasn’t beyond begging. “Is there any way you could find some ice cream for two guys who would really appreciate it?” The server smiled and said, “I’ll see what I can do.”
When she walked away, Bruce felt led to leave a rather large tip. In fact, he had a large wad of bills in his pocket, and he felt prompted to leave every last rand (the South African currency).
Bruce and David attempted to escape before the server could catch them, but she ran back out of the kitchen. With tears in her eyes, she said, “You know Jesus, don’t you?” Bruce did not deny it. Then she said, “This is a miracle. I have a baby, and we couldn’t pay rent, and the landlord was going to kick us out of our apartment tomorrow morning. I prayed to God on the way to work just this afternoon, ‘Please, God, send us the money, or we’ll be living on the street.’ ” She wiped away her tears and said, “Sir, this amount is exactly the rent I owe—to the rand. That’s how I knew you know Jesus.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people knew that we knew Jesus by the tips we leave? And by tips I don’t mean gospel tracts that look like fake bills! I was so inspired by Bruce’s story that I decided to turn tipping into a little game. Sometimes I leave a large tip, as the Spirit leads. But I also love tipping people who don’t normally get tipped. There are easier jobs than cleaning public bathrooms, right? It’s often a thankless job, so I’ve started leaving tips. Sometimes I’ll leave an anonymous tip on their cleaning rig. Sometimes I’ll look them in the eye and thank them. Either way, it’s another fun way to flip the blessing!
One last tip, pun intended.
Bruce Wilkinson keeps a stash of cash in what he calls the “God Pocket.” He explains, “The God Pocket is a specific location in your wallet or purse where you keep money you have devoted to God so you can give it to someone in need as soon as He nudges you to do so.”
Pretty simple. Pretty practical. Pretty powerful.
Sounds like something the Good Samaritan would do!
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.