Can't Outgive God

by Mary

Here’s the truth …

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38).

We just came out of the Christmas season, often called the season of giving.  My church took that to heart this year and encouraged us to find people to bless as we went about our daily lives.  Perhaps you are going through a restaurant drive-thru window line.  Couldn’t you pay for the order placed by the car behind you, just because?  Or maybe you could leave an extra-large tip for your overworked waitress.  Or wouldn’t it be nice to reward people who decorate their houses so beautifully for the holiday season with a mailbox bonus? 

I was thrilled to go on this quest, because I have always been a “giver.”  In fact, it brought to mind my favorite story of when I gave with my heart like that many years earlier.

Susan worked in the cubicle next to mine at the graduate school I attended.  We worked in the center for students with disabilities and we were on a grant that helped to pay for our tuition in return for our labor.  I was given different assignments than the ones given to her, so we rarely had to communicate.  But I watched her each day pull a lonely peanut butter sandwich from her bag.  That was lunch.  Nothing to go with it.  She never complained, though, and always seemed to have a jovial disposition. 

One day, however, I could tell than she was downtrodden.  So I said a little prayer for her silently and went about my day.  On my drive home, I got to thinking about her, and I felt strongly that she was sad because she was struggling financially—the typical college student trying to work her way through school.  So, I told my husband that I thought we should give her some money.  He learned never to question when the Holy Spirit nudged me like that, so he agreed.  The next day, when she stepped away from her desk, I placed an envelope on her desk.  Inside, I wrote, “I know your needs and am here for you.”  I signed it from God.  Then, I made myself scarce so that she wouldn’t think it came from me.

 I learned a long time later that she was a Christian.  She had cried out to God that downtrodden day to help her because she had spent the last bit of money she had buying soup for her sick grandfather.   She simply didn’t know how she was going to get through the week. She had placed the money we gave her in her Bible when she got home that day and didn’t race to spend it right away.  It was so precious a gift to her.  It was God’s provision, a direct answer to her prayers.  She didn’t take it lightly that the Heavenly Fatherly heard her and answered.

Let me tell you something:  there is nothing I would have ever been able to do with that money that would have been more fulfilling than to have been able to witness how God used me to bless a fellow sister, to be able to see her faith grow, to be able to see someone who fully appreciated every penny.  I felt honored that He whispered to me, believing that I could be the hands and feet to provide what she needed in God’s perfect timing.  No greater feeling.

We are all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Oftentimes, we feel compelled to do so with the unsaved in our world so that they might come to know Jesus in a more personal way through our actions.  But what gave me joy that day was that I helped out a fellow Christian who needed it, even though I didn’t know it.  The finances God trusted to me became useful for a person who used the last bit of her own finances to help her grandfather.

Susan taught me that no matter how tough you have it, someone else has it worse than you do.  Our circumstances should never keep us from being givers.  God sees, and He provides:  “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38).  And if you give with your heart, your heart will be filled up, too, to overflowing.  God gives back more than just money.

Let’s spend 2019 looking for ways to bless people, just because.  Without realizing it, you will be the ones who will be blessed the most.

 … and that’s the truth as I know it.