Today Heather asked us if we have a story of giving that has touched our lives deeply. As I thought about what to write, this memory came to mind…
We were young, newly married and poor. Due to my health problems, I was not working. I used every scrap of energy I could find to volunteer with a discipleship youth ministry and to meet with teens for a Bible study in a local high school. My husband, who is now an electrician, was just starting out with his apprenticeship and schooling. We lived on his small salary as well as a monthly gift from my generous and supportive parents.
As winter approached, my husband and I looked at our old hand-me-down cars with a bit of concern. With my volunteering and Phil’s work, we needed both of our vehicles. The tires on both cars were giving out. We needed new tires and that was not going to fit into our budget.
One day my Dad stopped in for a visit. He had just returned from a trip (he was a Christian speaker who traveled extensively speaking,) and had a surprise for us. He handed me an envelope. An older gentleman, a friend of my father’s, had come to him and slipped it into his hand saying that he hoped I wouldn’t be offended, but the Lord had put it on his heart to give it to me.
My father was very surprised. This man knew of my poor health, but did not know me personally. My Dad thanked him and told him he didn’t need to do such a generous thing, but assured him that I would not be offended.
I was in shock as my Dad passed me the gift. How unexpected and incredibly kind! (I know it is not proper to discuss money – but I must tell you the amount so that you can understand my total awe.) I carefully opened the envelope. In it was a check for $3000. Yes – all of our jaws dropped open.
My Dad had had no idea how much the check was for. He had brought it unopened to me and the man had never mentioned how much he was giving me. We all just stood there, not quite knowing what to do. How could this man send me a check for so much money without any reason or request!?! He knew so little about me or my life and yet he felt led to write me a check for more money than my husband earned in two months!
Yes, that gift got us through the winter. We were able to get new tires and pay all our bills. We had no financial stress at all.
But most of all, that gift told me that our generous and attentive Lord was looking after me. I felt like the crook of the staff was safely leading me, and the Shepard knew and cared about my needs.
A year later, I went into ministry with Youth for Christ. Again the Lord provided for our needs and more. Through the faithfulness of his people, I was able to raise the funds for my salary, plus the costs of my programs. There was always money for camp scholarships and trip fees. The kids in our programs, who all came from low income homes, never had to stay home because there wasn’t enough money. His faithfulness was incredible. And when I left my ministry to stay at home, I left behind a large surplus that went to other programs and to camp scholarships.
Having grown up in a ministry family and then going into ministry myself, I can tangibly see that everything that I have is from the Lord. He has looked after my earthly needs every day of my life.
And yet, I am ashamed to say, I often still worry about money. What if my husband gets injured and can’t work. What if my illness gets bad again and we need to hire help. What if, what if, what if…the ever present questions of a worrier!
How ridiculous, isn’t it!?! I think God must want to scream at me sometimes and say, “Have you not learned anything about me! I know your needs and I will look after you.”
When I hear him reminding me of his faithfulness, I repent and thank him. He is so faithful and good. And I give him thanks.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33