(Photo courtesy of Rock Church – Christy Radecic)
Reflecting Attitude of Gratitude
By Santiago Ruiz
It was 6:30 am and I left the house with a coffee in hand. I was dragging, still a little tired from the staging and planning in the previous days leading up to the event. But something inside me knew that it was going to be a great day because we’re launching a ministry that Jesus himself had talked about. In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus said, “In as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” The Rock Church’s Food Distribution ministry was launched to help meet this specific need. Despite the early morning and lack of sleep, there was a clear sense of gratitude that I felt knowing that many people would be blessed by our efforts
The San Diego Food Bank has been such a huge blessing to our region. With the onset of the pandemic, the need for food distribution partners grew tremendously as the number of people in need continued to rise. The San Diego Food Bank enables partners to purchase food at a discounted rate for food distributions. What initially started as one food distribution site for the Rock Church, has now grown to three branches of the Food Distribution ministry serving areas throughout San Diego County. The drive-through food distribution events occur at least three times per month. Some locations even provide delivery services for the elderly and those unable to come to the drive-through distribution.
After I picked up the delivery truck, I headed straight to the San Diego Food Bank where we had an 8 am appointment to shop. The big roll up doors opened up and our shopping team walked in and assumed the role as if they were in an episode of Supermarket Sweep. Since we only had one hour to shop, we were determined to make it count! As the shopping team brought out carts full of bread, produce, fruit and dry goods; the loading team proceeded to stack the boxes on pallets and load them on the truck. After the truck was loaded, I went to check out and then I saw the bill $45.80. I couldn’t believe it! A total of $45.80 for 3,577 pounds of food that would serve over 200 households. Instantly, I was overcome by the joy of the Lord. I shared this with the rest of the team. Some cried and some laughed, but we all prayed and thanked God. At that moment, we knew that we were part of something special. To date, the Rock Church has distributed over 25,645 pounds of food to over 1,181 households in San Diego County.
Back at the distribution site, another part of the team was already hard at work setting up tables, canopies, traffic cones, and directional signs. As we drove into the distribution site, I tried my hardest to honk the horn as the rest of the team applauded our entrance. But it was an old truck and the horn didn’t work! Still overjoyed, we all prayed for the food and began to unload and prepare the site. The team was pumped. As the worship music blasted, we got to work. As cars started to line up, we began the distribution. Car after car pulled in as we cheered them on. The entire team was full of smiles, even though I couldn’t see them, because of their face coverings.
Despite everyone’s circumstances, despite the pain that some of the volunteers themselves were experiencing in their own lives, despite the fact that some of the same volunteers loading boxes of food into the trunks of cars were in need of provisions themselves there was an attitude of gratitude that was apparent in everyone. You see, when we lay aside our own needs and lend ourselves to help others, we tend to feel a little more grateful. When we see the smiles and receive the thank-yous from people that we’ve helped, the late nights and early mornings don’t bother us as much.
A woman named Brenda was connected to the Rock Church through our membership class which is currently being held online. We normally ask people to print the workbook so they can write in the fill ins throughout the class, but Brenda mentioned that she didn’t have a printer and that she would be attending class on her phone. So, I decided to drop off a hard copy workbook for her. When I got there, I noticed she lived upstairs. When she came out to meet me, I noticed she was using a walker. As I prayed with her over the four weeks that she attended class, it just happened to be during the same time that we were launching the City Heights branch of the Food Distribution Ministry. Brenda was one of the first households that we provided food delivery to. When we showed up with a box of food, she said it was a tremendous blessing. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to attend the drive-through distribution because she doesn’t have access to a vehicle. Now she gets a drop off every time we have a distribution. When we serve people like this, we develop an attitude of gratitude that reflects the Kingdom of God in everything we do.
This my friends, is our call. This is what the Church in the book of Acts did. They distributed to the needs of the saints so that everyone was taken care of. This is how we love our neighbor and how we bless the Lord because as Jesus said, “In as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”
Find out more about Pastor Santiago Ruiz and The Rock Church City Heights Campus by visiting www.sdrock.com/campuses/cityheights/