The young mother added up her checkbook register and hesitated. She struggled to pen the check she was about to write. “This is my last $50 for the next three days.” Sigh.
“I wanted to get my hair done, but I can do that next month.”
She knew her hair could wait, since this check would make a difference in children eating next month or going hungry.
“Maybe I shouldn’t base my decisions on guilt?….”
“No. (She shook her head chiding herself for trying to justify herself.) It’s not guilt, it’s just a tough decision. I need to do what is right, because If it were my children starving….”
She gingerly unfolded the letter from the pastor from India she was supporting. He shared pictures of the orphans smiling with their rice bowls. She smiled.
“This is a sacrifice, but so glad I can make a small difference in God’s kingdom.”
She gently lifted her long hair, with split ends and sighed. “Maybe I can trim my own hair..?”
In another part of the U.S., a middle age pastor and his wife sat around a small table going through their bills.
“We knew this was going to be difficult when I followed God’s call to minister full time, instead of continuing as a State Trooper.” He took his wife’s hands and they prayed together, giving God the pile of bills they didn’t know how to pay. Suddenly, a knock came at the door. Sam, a local businessman who is a believer stood there smiling.
“God told me to give this to you.” He said. I was praying and The Lord told me that whenever I am led by him that I need to give you a $100 bill.”
They both praised the Lord, shook hands vigorously and the couple were left in stunned silence at the quickly answered prayer. And this was the beginning of many knocks during places of desperation. Many small sacrifices for a man who was giving courage to a young evangelist living by faith.
A couple months later, when they were not in need, they got a knock at the door again and there stood the man. “God told me to give this to you.” He handed them the crisp $100 bill.
When he left, the couple were excited. “All our bills are paid! This must be an extra blessing. Maybe this month we can get more groceries or go on a special family outing!” They put the money on top of the fridge for safe keeping.
10 minutes later, another knock came at the door. A man stood there. His car sat broken down in front of their house. He was in a bad situation, with no money and no where to turn. The pastor and his wife looked at each other as their insides twisted and protested what The Holy Spirit was speaking to them. After praying with him and helping him with his car, the pastor relinquished the crisp $100 bill and watched the man drive away in silence.
“Well, there goes that.”
“It was the right thing to do.”
They busied themselves around the house and a few minutes later the doorbell rang. As the evangelist opened the door, he was met by Sam, the businessman. Sam gruffly shoved a second $100 bill in his hand without a word. He turned and sped out of the driveway with squealing tires.
When God gives us gifts, it is most often a way to bless others. These two stories are true stories.
There is so much work to be done in the world and God distributes his blessings to believers so they can shine his love to other people. Whether your gift is time, money, prayer, faith, teaching, generosity, or mercy, God did not give you a gift to keep it to yourself. He gave it to be used in love.
This is the verse that has been running through my mind the past month.
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”