Quick story about a different “Ian”…

Earlier this year, a few months after I lost a ministry job, I went to spend some time at Teleo Coffee in Kirkwood, Missouri one morning. I was working on my laptop, setting up my new freelance business. Meanwhile, I kept noticing this good looking dude sitting near me with long hair and a “Jesus loves you” shirt on. After sitting there for some time, he got up and approached my table.

With a grin on his face he asked, “Hey, I couldn’t help but notice the Greek tattoo on your arm man. What does it mean?” I told him the word means “loved unconditionally,” and explained a little bit of the spiritual backstory as to why I got the tattoo in the first place. “I thought I got the impression you might be a believer,” he said enthusiastically, and we started to chat a bit about our personal histories with the Lord.

I told him we should get coffee sometime and connect more. He gave me his name (Ian) and phone number, but told me he was leaving town and wouldn’t be back in the area for a good while. Nevertheless, he texted me later that day to ask me if there was anything he could be praying about for me. I responded that the main thing weighing on my mind was my financial situation, because I was late on making a payment that I owed. He asked me how much the total was. 

A few days later Ian messaged me to tell me he just got a paycheck… and then proceeded to send me a big chunk of money via Venmo to cover my bill!

I was so moved that a stranger felt led to spontaneously invest in me like that. I texted him and told him he was too gracious, and he replied, “God is too gracious! In fact, that’s literally what my name means.”

It felt like a wink from Heaven.

That’s just one of countless stories I could tell of how people have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me in this chapter of my life — encouraging, supporting and blessing me in surprising ways. In other words, intentionally modeling Christ’s loyal love in an embodied manner, as the Church that He intended for us to be to one another.

We don’t always get it right in how we treat each other… But then again, a lot of times we actually do. Either way, God knows how to step in, show up, and continue in every season to be exceedingly gracious.