In the News
Memphis, Tenn.—An encounter in a grocery-store parking lot has had life-changing results for 16-year-old Chauncy Jones Black. The hungry teen had taken a bus to a wealthier part of town, seeking some donuts in exchange for helping customers with their bags. The only person who agreed that night was Matt White, a 30-year-old who realized the “broken” teen in tattered clothes needed more than just donuts.
After buying Chauncy a bunch of food and supplies, White dropped off the teen at the small apartment he shares with his disabled mom. “I was truly humbled,” White says. “He and his mom had nothing. They didn’t even have beds or furniture.”
Yet after the shopping spree, Chauncy “looked like a kid again,” White says. “You could see the hope coming back into Chauncy’s eyes.” The teen, a straight A-student, told White he wants to be a successful businessman so he can extend generosity to someone else one day. Hugging Chauncy goodbye that night “meant more to me than any possession I have,” White says.
White posted about the encounter on Facebook, hoping to collect $250 to buy Chauncy a lawnmower so the teen could earn some money. Offers of food, clothes, jobs, furniture, and dental care soon poured in. White then set up a GoFundMe page to help Chauncy and his mom get a new home and pay for Chauncy’s college tuition. Donations have now topped $330,000.
“It’s so awesome,” Chauncy says. “My life has been completely changed.” His grateful mom, Barbara Black, says, “I thought nobody cared anymore, but I see now that they do.”
“It’s unreal,” White writes. “God, I’ve never known your love like this. I’ve never witnessed your love unleashed like this. I am in awe.” He added, “It starts small. A simple act of kindness…can ripple out and create an ocean of prosperity in the world.”
Sources: people.com, facebook.com, gofundme.com, christiantoday.com
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Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
What’s your reaction to this life-changing encounter? Do you think it was a coincidence? Do you think God planned everything to work out this way? Explain.
Why do you think so many people are responding to Chauncy’s needs? How do you think the sudden change in circumstances will affect his life? What do you think it would be like to have your present living conditions and future plans change so quickly?
When a stranger approaches you for money or assistance, how do you usually react? Do you view him or her as a person with a story? Are you willing to take the time to get to know that story? Explain.
Have you ever had an experience that changed your perspective about your own wealth or living conditions? If so, what realizations did you come to? Did the experience curb your desire for material possessions? Why or why not?
When has an act of generosity renewed your faith in humanity—or in God? When has someone’s kindness renewed your hope or encouraged you to persevere during tough times? Did you pay that forward? If not, how can you?
How might our world be different if everyone felt cared for, both physically and emotionally? What steps can you take to make that happen for the people around you?
When have you witnessed Jesus’ love being “unleashed” in your life or in the lives around you? Do you think this happens more than we realize? How can we begin to notice Jesus at work—and step up to take an active role as his partners in that work?
Why can small acts be so powerful? How does Chauncy’s story affect your thoughts about how you can make a difference in the world?
Do you consider yourself “rich in good works”? What are some ripple effects of Jesus’ love you can launch into motion this week?
Scripture links: Matthew 25:34-40; Luke 21:1-4; Acts 20:32-35; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; James 1:27; and 1 John 3:16-18.