Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
One of my favorite stories in Scripture is where Jesus is telling his followers that the more they give, the more they will receive. It cannot be otherwise, he explains, because God will never be outdone in generosity. The concept of tithing is explained in a different part of Scripture, the idea that the first fruits---perhaps 10 percent of one’s earnings---should be given to God as an act of faith. (The actual money can be given to charity or church.)
It sounds simple, but putting it into practice is very difficult. We all have reasons for not giving money away, especially now when so many people are out of work completely, or earning reduced wages. But a principle is a principle, and it works all the time, not just when it seems easier to accept.
Colleen W. knows it first hand and her story is typical of how most of us take the first step. Finances had been somewhat tight for Colleen. One day she received a letter from a woman for whom she had done a favor. Inside was a gift card for $25, along with a brief “thank you” note from the woman.
Colleen was hadn’t expected to be paid, and she was thrilled. She couldn’t remember the last time she had received money that had no specific destination. The possibilities, although modest, seemed endless---something to wear? Something pretty for spring? She headed out to one of her favorite stories to enjoy some browsing time before making a selection.
While wandering up and down the aisles, she passed a display of Easter bunnies and angels. And she thought immediately of Grace. Grace was a dear friend who was mourning the death of her son. He had died around Easter of last year, and the anniversary was approaching. How would Grace handle it, Colleen wondered? Grace had started a collection of angels and another of bunnies shortly after the funeral. “They just make me feel better,” she once explained to Colleen. Now Colleen was looking at a display of the same items, and…she moved closer. There was a statue of an angel holding a bunny. Just perfect for Grace. The price? A little under $25.
No, Colleen thought. I can’t spend my gift card on something for someone else… But she could and she knew it. You will be repaid, said a voice in her head, but what did that mean? Quickly, before she changed her mind, she bought the statue, went home, wrapped it and left it on Grace’s porch.
When Grace phoned, Colleen could hardly hear her through the tears. “It’s the nicest thing that’s happened to me in a long time,”her friend told her. “How could you possibly know that I was asking God for a sign that my son is in His arms?”
Colleen cried too then. She had definitely been repaid, as the words in her head had promised. What could be more enjoyable than making someone happy?
God probably feels that way too, which is why Colleen received an unexpected check in the mail a few days later, from a utility bill overcharge. The amount? $25.
The amount? Not important.
Being a part of God’s answer to prayer? Priceless.
Dear Lord, help our eyes be open and our hearts be willing to give. Help us be the one that You use today to bless somebody. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.