Chuck Honess rides through the back roads of Louisiana on his cross-country trek last fall to raise awareness for UMCOR.
By Michelle Scott Okabayashi*
February 28, 2013—As we journey to Easter through the season of Lent, Chuck Honess—who undertook a cross-country bike ride last fall to raise funds and awareness for UMCOR—encourages us to consider the miracle, mystery, and grace of what he calls, "God’s economy".
“I spent 60 days on a bicycle,” says Chuck. “It didn’t occur to me that all it would take is one encounter that would pay off in dividends for God.” Chuck went on to describe various encounters he had along the way in which he could see God at work: changing him and changing others.
Before Chuck left, his men’s Bible study prayed for him. He recalls that one person’s prayer was that he would know when to stop pedaling and take an opportunity to look and listen. This prayer came back to Chuck time and time again. He would be in the rhythm of the day, pedaling towards his goal, and something would tug on his heart to stop and talk to someone or to set aside the day’s plans to follow what God was telling him to do.
Chuck attended and spoke in as many United Methodist churches as possible along his route. Chuck was visiting one church in Texas on his way home when he felt God prompting him to give a teen in the church his one spare bike. He talked to the young man’s Sunday school teacher about the best way to do this and then learned that the teen was an orphan, lived way out in the country with his grandparents, who were struggling financially, and had no form of transportation. The bike would give him some independence and is something he never could have afforded on his own.
"God’s economy" plays out in our own lives as we continue on the Christian journey. We have encounters and we have to make the choice to listen and stop pedaling—even when it feels disruptive—or to continue on and possibly miss an opportunity for growth. “You never know where God is,” says Chuck as he reflects on what he learned during his two-month journey.
On the fourth Sunday of this Lenten journey (March 10), we will celebrate One Great Hour of Sharing, when churches have traditionally shared their resources to help others in times of crisis. For United Methodists, the One Great Hour of Sharing offering goes to UMCOR and provides for the organization’s administrative costs. This allows UMCOR to “stop pedaling” and be ready to respond to disasters and other crises when they arise.
Is God asking you to pause in your daily routine to take part in the lives of others?
*Michelle Scott Okabayashi is a writer and a regular contributor to www.umcor.org.