Seven years of my husband owning his own business has been a tutor to me. These years have schooled me in what it means to have plenty and to be in (slight) want. They have taken me to task for my selfish desires and sometimes sinful stewardship. They have taught me from where my provisions truly come.
I thank God for promises from his word which have guided my learning. My learning is not finished, but Ecclesiastes 11 has instructed time and again:
Cast your bread upon the waters,
for after many days you will find it again.
Give portions to seven, yes to eight,
for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
If clouds are full of water,
they pour rain upon the earth.
Whatever I have, do I have it to hoard or to give? Do I hold it tightly or do I give it away? God says to cast your bread upon the waters. Your precious bread which feeds and nourishes you and yours! Hold it lightly (not tightly) in your hand and let it go. For when you do, it will return to you. You will find it again!
Last fall we knew of a nearby family going through some struggles, though we weren’t certain they were financial ones too. We had a sizable gift card we had purchased for another purpose, but hadn’t used yet.
At that same time were planning several gatherings, one for our seventh child’s baptism. We wanted to celebrate these good gifts with friends and family. That gift card would have been so helpful as it was a lean time for us financially. I asked Kevin what I could spend and his answer was “very little”. I suggested the gift card.
As we discussed it, we felt compelled to give the card to this family in crisis and trust that just using what we had and making minimal purchases would cover our needs.
I tell testimony of this, not because I fancy myself set apart to receive God’s special gifts, but because this is the kind of God we serve: a God who delights to give his children good gifts if we will only trust him.
I mailed the gift card with a note early in the week. Her return thank you weeks later proved her need was real and she had gratefully accepted the gift. We thankfully praised God who helped us to give from our place of need.
I went to my own mailbox the day after I sent out the card. I was confounded. Inside our box was a card of equal value, to a different store, which someone had anonymously given to us. My head shook in amazement and my lips uttered thank you.
We could have kept that first card and used it ourselves. No foul, no harm….No faith, no blessing! In God’s leading us to give it away, this family was blessed and we were able to do it in the name of Jesus. We were able to trust him to supply all of our needs as we cast our precious bread on the waters. But in his fashion, he brought it back to us with full hearts and firmer faith. We found it again!
Psalm 50:10 reminds us,
for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
Do we believe He owns the cattle on a thousand hills? The earth is his and all that is in it belongs to him. He does not need our currency or our possessions. He wants our faith and our whole hearts.
I thank Jehovah Jireh that he has shown us his provision time and again. From specific items of clothing the kids have requested to bikes and toys that have been generously shared with us. Just this weekend, we gave from our need. When we returned home Sunday evening we were met with a box packed full with pantry and personal items anonymously given to us. Toothbrushes for all of the kids…on my list of things to get soon. Noodles…the same kind we used days earlier to feed a crowd. Treats and useful things. My lips utter thank you again.
They came from someone giving to us…perhaps from their own need. And we pass the blessings around in the name of Christ.
Though sometimes things look bleak, we must know our God whom we serve. He is no man’s beggar and he is our Father. He shall supply all of our needs. He is good indeed!
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.