In the fall of 2004, autumn leaves blanketed the streets and a cool chill hung in the crisp air. My husband, Ray, and I found ourselves at a local used car lot. Rows and rows of shiny used vehicles of all makes and models were spread out all around us. We had prayed the night before that the Lord would help us pick the right car to replace an older vehicle that was no longer running.
After looking at several cars, one kept standing out to us. It was a 2001, pearl white, four-door sedan. The interior and exterior looked pristine, and it had very low mileage. After some test driving and some negotiations, we drove away from the lot with our new purchase.
It was a great car from the start. It soon became a fixture in our family and took us everywhere we needed to go. Ray drove it daily to and from his job, about 25 miles from our home. We also used it to go to church and a myriad of other activities. It even took us on several long road trips.
A decade went by, and the car was still as dependable as ever. Another five years went by, and the car was the same. I can count on one hand the number of times it’s been to the auto mechanic for repairs.
It is now the fall of 2020, and my husband is just returning from work in, yep, the same incredible car! I glance at the odometer, and the car has now surpassed 304,000 miles!
As I ponder this car and the blessings it has yielded in our lives, I know that the Lord has blessed us. My husband and I are keenly aware that all we have belongs to the Lord. Our jobs, our family, our home, our finances, the food on our table, our health, our talents, our ability to enjoy life—they are all gifts from the Lord. We offer gratitude to God for everything and seek His will in every aspect of our lives. This principle has blessed us.
Another huge part of this equation is stewardship. The Lord commands all to return a full tithe and asks His followers to be faithful in their offerings too. This we have tried to practice.
In the book of Malachi, God told His people that if they do not return their tithe and offerings, they are, in fact, robbing Him. Wow! Returning 10 percent of our earnings is not a suggestion but a directive. Giving offerings above and beyond tithe is also desired by God. God has put in place this divine system to bless His people and His church.
Through Malachi God directs His people: “ ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,’ says the LordAlmighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Mal. 3:10-12, NIV).
The wise man wrote: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, and with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine” (Prov. 3:9, 10, NIV). It’s still the same when we apply this principle to our modern age: giving God a portion of that which He has already given us has promises attached to it.
By stepping out in faith and trusting in God with everything we have, with our first fruits and not with leftovers, the Lord has blessed Ray and me in numerous ways. He provided wisdom and the ability to get out of debt earlier than expected. Other blessings include our three children and 12 beautiful grandchildren. Some of the greatest blessings are the answered prayers on different occasions on behalf of ourselves and our loved ones.
Going back to the car, I know that someday we will have to replace it. When that time comes, we will seek the Lord’s wisdom and blessings in that decision.
We serve a powerful, loving, and faithful God who can provide divine blessings and care to His followers as we step out in full and complete faith and seek His will in every aspect of our lives. There have been, and will be, hardships and trials along the way, but I know I can trust God. I will continue to remember that the Lord is good and seek Him daily in my life. This is where true peace, joy, surety, and comfort are found.
Janet Van Why is communications secretary for the Albuquerque Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.