‘Tis the season…
I’ve been thinking about “giving” for weeks, true biblical giving as opposed to worldly giving. Days ago I made some notes, jotted down some verses, and saved it in draft form for another blog. I almost brought that draft over here to use for this post and then thought better of it.
As I think I’ve made clear in the title, I’d rather this be a conversation between me and you, the reader. No doubt I’ll write the other post, but that one will stay where it was originally intended.
Well, why don’t I start the ball rolling…
I don’t think I truly knew how to give until God showed me. Since I was in my mid-thirties by the time the lessons began, I spent many years of giving that were not well, shall we say up-to-par?
I had to be put into a position of incredible need before I learned godly giving. As hard as it was to go through, I came away with deeply needed wisdom and some wonderful stories. Stories of people who understand giving in God’s economy and who give selflessly and others who still give based on worldly standards and selfishness.
I won’t tell you every single story right now, or this would seem more like the kind of lecture conversation I have with my children. I’ll start with my favorite, and hopefully we’ll have time for another one later.
Once upon a time, actually two years ago, I gathered my children together before bed to pray. On that particular night, just a week or so before Christmas, I started by telling my 14, 11, and 8 year-old kids that they would not be receiving any Christmas presents. We had nothing, there was absolutely no money. We could not even afford to purchase a tree. I cried as I spoke; they weren’t nearly as dismayed.
In our prayer that night, one of the children told God that they would be happy with whatever he decided to give, even if it was nothing. We praised him and thank him for giving us his son; Jesus is surely enough of a gift. They taught me how to be thankful in all circumstances that night.
I’m not sure how and I’m not sure who, but someone heard of our plight. Someone who did not want to be identified; someone who just wanted to help. Two days before Christmas, I received a phone call from the Associate Pastor of our church. He asked me if we were having financial problems. We hadn’t told the church because our bills were all paid, it was only an American Christmas that we couldn’t afford. Once the question was asked, the tears started to flow.
He said he had just received a phone call asking him to call us. The unidentified person wanted me to go to our mailbox located out at the street. I sent my son, who quickly ran back into the house with a simple envelope that belied its contents.
As I opened it, one-hundred dollar bills fell out, ten one-hundred dollar bills to be exact. Can you imagine the emotions, the praises to God, the cheers from the children? It was the most incredible Christmas I’ve ever experienced, but not because of the money, because of the love someone anonymously showed our family. That person had learned to give cheerfully, abundantly and at every opportunity. What an incredible thing it is to be the benefactor of someone else’s love and obedience to Scripture.
Words cannot describe the extent to which that experience has changed this family and our giving forever.
And you? What’s one of your best giving stories? I’d love to hear about it.