ur daughter’s husband, Joe, lost his job a few weeks ago, which is quite unusual, since he’s very qualified in his particular area of business. In fact, he has a master’s degree in business. But the state cut funding for his position, so he’s been without work. His wife doesn’t work outside the home, because they have three small children.
One Sabbath Joe had to call for the offering during the worship service. He brought out the idea that our money is not ours, and that God will take care of us through any situation. At the end of his appeal he quoted the verse: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare” (Isa. 55:2).
More Than Words
This thought struck our daughter, Renae, with unusual force, as she had been feeling depressed about Joe being without a job. She felt thankful she had grocery money for the next week tucked safely away in her purse.
Then it happened. The Holy Spirit started telling her to put her grocery money into the offering plate. “No,” she said. “I need this money for groceries. My cupboards are almost bare. I need this money.”
What Do You Think?
1. Recall a time when God provided for you in an unusual way--not just materially, physically or spiritually.
2. What promise do you most often claim as you attempt to keep God first in your life?
3. When faced with a material or spiritual need, to whom do you turn first for aid? Be honest.
4. Are there people in your community who are suffering from the poor economy? If so, what can you do, right now, to come to their aid?
But the feeling persisted. “Don’t you trust Me? I can take care of you. Just this morning at church a friend gave you two bags of granola. I can take care of you.”
Renae let the offering plate go by without responding. But she felt such an enormous feeling of guilt that she decided, “OK, there’s one more chance to put it in, when the children come ?by for the offering for the children’s story.”
Renae reached into her purse, pulled out the roll of bills, and tucked it into her daughter’s hand to carry down the aisle. She felt a sense of relief, even though she didn’t know what they were going to do for food the following week.
When she told Joe what she had done, he was very supportive. He said he felt she had done the right thing.
That evening they went to Joe’s parents’ home for supper. Renae told her mother-in-law what she had done in church that morning, and how it was a difficult time for them with Joe being out of work, but that they had both agreed they didn’t want either of their parents helping them through it. This was a God thing, just between them and God.
When they left, Joe’s mom slipped an envelope into his hand, saying it was a little money from a great aunt she had been saving for them. It wasn’t much, but when they counted it on the way home it turned out to be more than three times the amount Renae had given in church that very morning.
God Wasn’t Finished
The next day Joe and Renae went shopping for groceries. They got everything they needed and still had $60 left over, about the same amount Renae had put in the offering.
That day, as Renae was talking to her neighbor over the fence, her neighbor said they had seen Joe on the worship service broadcast on Blue Mountain Television the day before. They had been impressed by what Joe said about God supplying all their needs. They also were going through some difficult times because of some unusually expensive medical bills.
Renae shared with her neighbor the story of how God had blessed their own giving. The neighbor responded by saying she felt impressed to give $15 to Blue Mountain Television and start paying tithe, even though they could afford only $20 a week for groceries.
Renae gave her one of her bags of granola and went to the post office and anonymously mailed the neighbor the $60 she had left over from the groceries she had purchased.
That very evening some people came from West Virginia to pick up an antique truck they had purchased from Joe over eBay almost a year before. They had already paid for it, and they were just there to pick it up. Before they left, they gave Joe some money for “the trouble” of keeping the truck for them all that time.
The amount was $200.
So this is what happened: Renae went to church with $60 in her purse and very few groceries in her house. After taking God at His word she ended up with her cupboards full of groceries, she gave $60 to her neighbor, and she still had $200.
What a mighty God we serve!
Ginger Brockman served as a teacher in the Upper Columbia Conference for more than 40 years. She lives in Newport, Washington. This article was printed December 17, 2009.