Thoughts of the small wad of bills in my coat pocket nagged at me as the offering plate passed. Yet another large pay-cut on the cusp of the new year creates a gravitational pull to hang on to what we have.
The sermon commenced, challenging us to decide whether we will choose fear or faith when faced with a crossroad. There was ample time to ponder the question as we concluded with communion.
In the final moments, the benevolence offering was taken--an opportunity to share with others in need. Grateful that our own hard times haven't resulted in the need to be recipients, I determined that I would contribute.
I pulled the cash from my pocket and separated the singles from the larger bill. I looked at the money in each hand, momentarily torn.
"You can't out-give God." No one spoke those words, but I heard them as clearly as though someone had.*
I put all the money in the basket as it passed. Feelings of expectancy (but not entitlement) filled the place in my heart where fear has been trying to gain a foothold. I could feel my faith growing stronger in that moment.
I picked up the boys from their classes and we got some lunch and waited for Hubs at a cozy little bookstore.
The boys alternated between building elaborate towers and searching for treasures among the books while I contented myself reading just a few more Christmas stories before they're put away for the season.
Hubs met us there, fresh from having lunch with a member of the church where he's been filling the pulpit for the past few months.
"The church gave us a generous check, kind of as a 'thank you,'" He said. It was very unexpected because they've already been gracious in paying him for his work on their behalf.
He couldn't have known that my smile came not from the value of God's provision, but because the evidence of the truth I heard as I gave my meager offering came much quicker (and more generously) than I expected.
So grateful--for the provision and the tangible reminder of Truth.
"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
(*note--I don't believe in "giving to get," but I do know that God has always met our needs and I can get in the way of receiving His intended blessings--whether material or spiritual--because I withhold in fear rather than give in faith. I hope I will move forward doing the latter as opportunity presents.)
PS. On Saturday, God used these words from Renee Swope to bring my perspective back where it needs to be--circumstances and all. I hope they'll encourage you, too.
"At any moment and in any circumstance, the soul that seeks God may find Him, and practice the presence of God." Brother Lawrence
Life is busy and noisy and full of distraction. It’s easy to miss God’s presence in the midst of it all. Refreshmoments is designed to be a place to come and be reminded that He’s right here, right now; when you’re doing the dishes, taking a bath, making cookies, putting on lip balm.
I hope you’ll come here not to escape from your daily life, but for a brief retreat. And when you leave, I hope you’ll take with you something that connects to your world and lets you re-enter it with an improved perspective, renewed energy or a sense of peace that you didn’t have when you arrived.
(aka Mary Pielenz Hampton) is "midlife mom" to 10 year old train-loving "Bug" and 7 year old Jedi wannabe "Boo," wife to "Hubs" (who makes only rare blog appearances as he wishes to remain anonymous), friend, writer, at-home-businesswoman, bargain hunter, teacher, lover of tea and chocolate and fancy desserts (especially if made with chocolate).