You really can't out-give God

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.

5 comments:

Carolyn said...

I love it when you get to see a plan come together! I'm really in the beginning stages of learning the connection between giving & receiving.....it's a wonderful journey. Thanks for your story of faith!

Kendra Cameron-Jarvis said...

So often I live in fear-fear of the unknown. Will we have enough money to pay our bills? Will we be healthy this year? Will my husband's company layoff positions? So often when the collection plate is passed, I hold it in my hand for a moment, and then pass it on. Afraid...Fear. God is working in my heart and He does not want me to live in fear anymore. He wants me to live in faith and trust Him. Thank you for writing this-God has spoken to me today through your words.

Blessings,
Kendra
www.abusywomanslife.com

RefreshMom said...

I resonate with your comment Kendra. I've been mulling over a post on fear myself. Variations of your questions haunt my thoughts more of my day than I care to admit. I thought I had my "word for the year" all picked out, but I feel like God is telling me that I really need to focus on "no fear."

Thanks for stopping by; I'll be following your journey too. I look forward to seeing what God does!

Blessings,
Mary

anointedwithgrace.com said...

Mary, I love this post! I have been learning this lesson as well (sacrificial giving). Check out my post on the cowboy boots: http://tinyurl.com/5sozqrg

Blessings,
Allison

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Been there many a time... giving to God only to receive manifold blessing in return. It has been one of those seasons for us, and my heart has been humbled by the generosity of others.

Thanks for stopping by and checking in with me. Hope all is well on the west coast!

peace~elaine

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