During a morning church service on Dec. 6, Senior Pastor Joe R. Henson phoned Gator’s Pizza Place for a delivery. In his sermon, Henson spoke on the topic of generosity, and he asked the 200 people in attendance to respond by giving a hearty love offering.
Lewis White Magpie, a 24-year-old full-time worker at the local pizzeria, arrived at the church shortly afterwards and was directed to deliver the food to a back room. After opening doors, Magpie, carrying one pizza, found himself facing the audience on the main stage of the sanctuary.
Henson greeted Magpie before handing him an envelope with the love offering. Magpie opened the envelope to find a tip of $667.29.
“It was very generous what they did for me,” says Magpie, who doesn’t attend the church. “It was a huge surprise.”
The offering resulted from a four-part sermon series on gratitude and generosity called “Tis the Season.” This weekly series challenged members of the church to practice what was preached from the pulpit each Sunday.
The “action step” for the second week of the series was to do at least one spontaneous act of generosity. It was during this time that the pastoral staff saw the opportunity to encourage the congregation to to perform this act of service.
Henson spoke with Bruce Kessler, a member of New Life and owner of Gator’s Pizza Place. Henson discovered that Magpie, one of Kessler’s employees, had been involved in a car accident during a snowstorm, disabling his vehicle. Magpie was unable to pay for repairs, forcing him to walk to work.
As a result, Henson and the pastoral staff of New Life decided to bless Magpie with the love offering.
"Christmas is a season where we are reminded of the generosity of our God through the gift of His Son,” Henson says. “And we, as followers of Christ, are called to be a generous people, giving extravagantly of our time, our resources, and ourselves.”
Thanks to the biggest tip he had ever received, Magpie was able to pay for the repairs to his vehicle and no longer walks to work.