“Give, and It Will Be Given to You"
"You’ve got to be kidding!” Those were the first words out of my mouth as we counted the money in the bank envelope. The amount was almost twice what we had shared with a friend in need a few months earlier. Jesus' words in Luke 6:38 immediately came to my mind; “Give, and it will be given to you: 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 back to you.”
The story began in February when Fred, a friend of ours, shared that he was in need of work, food, and money to pay his utilities and property taxes. He had been out of a job for a short time and wanted me to pray with him about his situation. Always glad to take my own needs to our Father in prayer, I bowed with him, and we poured out his need to God, trusting that He would provide. When I saw Fred a week later and asked him how things were working out, I could tell that nothing had changed. As he told me how the situation hadn’t improved, I was strongly impressed that I could help in meeting his need. Into my head flashed two biblical passages: Ruth chapter 2, where Boaz pronounces a blessing on Ruth and then goes on to become the channel for the greatest portion of God’s blessing; and the admonition in James 2:15,16: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well-fed.' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”
At home we had funds that my wife, Lorrie, and I had set aside from our tax refund for our daughter’s new viola and a summer vacation to see my twin brother in Texas—something we wanted to do before our girls were out on their own.
“Lord, do you really mean for me to give that money to Fred?” My mind raced to figure out how in the world we could ever replace those funds and make the viola and the trip a reality. I could see no possible way, yet the voice still urged me to give Fred the money. I excused myself for a minute to call my wife, and as I shared the story with her, she told me to follow my conviction and wait to see what the Lord would work out for the vacation and the viola.
I’ll never forget the look on Fred’s face and the tone of his voice when he realized that his needs had been taken care of. Though I was still unsure of how God would do it, I assured him that we can never out-give God, and that He would take care of our needs. Fred made the payments, got his utilities turned back on, and soon found a job.
Our family adjusted our vacation plans to fit the new budget, and we made plans for a camping trip to the Olympic Peninsula. On the last Wednesday of our summer day camp at the All Nations Center, our church treasurer asked us if he could see my wife and me during lunch the next day. My mind raced to figure out the reason for such a meeting. “Is he going to tell us that there is no money for our salary this month? Will he inform us that there was a donation to Native American Ministries that would help with the day camp?” I had to stop wondering and just wait until Thursday’s lunch hour.
When we met the next day, George, the treasurer, seemed a bit nervous as he sat down, which made us wonder what his message for us could be. After beginning with a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s provision, he informed us that word had somehow gotten out about our assistance with Fred’s needs, and that the church had gathered together some funds to help out with our family vacation.
As he handed us the envelope, we opened it with a sense of nervousness and disbelief. Our heavenly Father must have been smiling as He watched us count out almost twice the amount we had given to Fred! Tears of thankfulness came to our eyes as we praised God for answering our prayer of faith offered five months earlier. In His time and in His own generous way, He took care of our needs.
In the past three and a half years since we stepped out in faith and chose to work in Native American ministry, God has proved Himself faithful to our family in more ways than we can count. As I write this story, the song “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God has done,” is running through my mind. Do I really believe Jesus’ words in Luke 6:38, or do I just know them intellectually? To believe in God’s promises means that I trust Him to keep those promises in my life as I put His kingdom first.
I pray that we never cease to share the stories of God’s provision in our lives. As we tell of His faithfulness, our trust in Him grows, and we prove anew that we can never out-give our heavenly Father. May our song be each day; “Come Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.”