Each week three men arrive at the store together. Immediately, they go to the bathroom to wash their hands and then check out the selection for dinner. All three men have recently been released from prison. Each of these guys is part of a local ministry assisting men getting out of prison. As part of their training they attend weekly financial education classes with Nasha Lending. Together we grow, learn, share a meal, and work together to steward our resources in a God-honoring way.
This week, Joe* shared he was struggling to find hope. We have been tracking our income and expenses, creating a budget, and working to save $10-$20 per week. The numbers weren't adding up, Joe confessed. Although he was recently hired on full-time, he didn't see how it was possible to reach his long term goal of getting his drivers license back ($750) with the income and expenses he currently had. The impact of reality hit hard.
In this moment, as the facilitator, it's easy to rush platitudes. It will all be OK. Don't worry, we'll figure it out. In this moment though, Joe doesn't need platitudes. He needs community and he needs hope. Immediately, the class rallied around Joe. They, too, have felt hopeless in the face of reality. Two of the ladies in class shared their story of God's provision and the hope that he will continue to be faithful.
This was not the prosperity gospel. This was not the empty promises of payday lending. This was the reassurance that God is bigger than our long term goals and He will make a way for his people.
At the end of class, Joe volunteered to pray for our group. He prayed we would have courage to move forward and discipline to make the choices necessary to use our finances as a blessing for others. Will you join us?
*name changed for privacy