Practicing extravagant generosity

Published 8:18 am Thursday, November 9, 2017

“What if you knew that by simply crossing the room and saying “hello” to someone, you could change that person forever? Just a few steps to make an eternal difference. It has nothing to do with methods and everything to do with taking a genuine interest in another human being.”

Bill Hybels wrote this in “Just Walk Across the Room.”

God often provides opportunities to make a difference. The question is not — “will you make a difference?” The question is what kind of difference will you make positive, negative or no impact at all? The opportunity is already there. What will you do?

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At various times, many people have “Walked Across the Room” and shaped my life and my faith.

In elementary school, in Arkansas, my best friend’s dad was also my pastor. Church for me was a place to sit still and be bored. But this preacher went out of his way to play ball, took us out for ice cream and talked to us not at us. He was my first exposure to what a church could and should be.

A Sunday school teacher and youth leader took us camping and taught the Bible but more importantly lived Christ’s teaching in a way that helped me through difficult teenage years.

A business owner hired me when no one else would. He taught and continually reinforced the values of honesty, hard work and treating others with respect.

Two dissatisfied business customers recognized me when I visited their church. They went out of their way to welcome me. When I asked why they were so helpful, they replied: “What kind of Christians would we be if we didn’t extend hospitality and grace?”

My mother was led to Christ at a Billy Graham concert. For years she regularly and continually prayed that God would change me. I assumed she was going through a passing fad. She kept praying. God changed me.

Confessions of a Happy Christian, by Zig Ziglar, super-star salesman, motivational speaker and Christian, prompted me to surrender my life to Christ. After hearing my story, Zig continued to write letters offering guidance and encouragement throughout my faith journey.

After entering seminary, two people from different churches felt called by God to provide financial support. Two other people who lived near the school provided a room in their house at no cost.

A respected leader in our denomination dropped everything and drove over 100 miles to listen to my concerns, pray with me and provide encouragement that likely kept me in the ministry.

What is so powerful about these encounters?

• Each person went out of their way, “walking across the room,” to offer help.

• Their seemingly random acts of kindness had a life-changing impact.

• Combined, the experiences led to an inspiring series of moments that shaped my faith.

A life serving God is like that. Seemingly random series of events offer opportunities for you through the power of God’s Holy Spirit to make a difference within the life of someone else.

Someone took a risk and walked across the room, for you. How can you say, “Thank you?” How can you walk across the room for others? Nearly everyday, God gives the opportunity for you to make a difference in someone’s life. What kind of difference will you make? The opportunity is there. What will you do? Your willingness to respond to God’s prompting, could radically change someone’s life as well as enhance your own.

Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at