Saturday, August 3, 2013

Surprised by the Truth of God's Word?

Last Sunday I nervously shared something personal with my church family.  I wasn't sure ahead of time whether I should share or not.  It had to do with giving and my struggle to be faithful in the month of July this year due to some financial stress I had experienced.  But when it came time to preach I had a strange peace and liberty about sharing, so I did so.  The response has been overwhelming.  I have had an opportunity to talk with many about their giving and have had a number of people share with me their renewed commitment to faithfulness in this area.  So I thought that God had used my confession and subsequent gift to spur some people on and that was the end of it.  Glory to the Lord!

But my wife just called me upstairs to look at the mail.  I was astonished at what I saw.  I now believe the Lord wants to use what I shared last Sunday to further highlight his faithfulness to his people and the reliability of his word.  So let me now tell you the rest of the story...

The Lord has provided five gifts since I made my confession and put my offering in the box.  I want to tell you about these to highlight God's faithfulness and goodness.  Before I do, I want you to know that first, this never happens.  I'm just like everyone else.  Monetary gifts are appreciated but rare. Second, I honestly did not expect any of these.  All five were total surprises.

So here it goes...

My wedding anniversary was Monday.  I received two anniversary gifts from friends.  One was $100 and one was $20.  Both were unexpected and greatly appreciated.  This is my 18th anniversary, and I think it is the first time I have ever received a gift of money for my anniversary.

Sub-total: $120.00.

Carla, my secretary, texted me on Tuesday, while I was away from the office to tell me that someone I had done some work for had dropped by a check for $200.  The work was a while back, and they had given me $200 (more as a gift than a payment), but I had lost the check.  It was my fault.  I had asked Carla to bring it to their attention, but never really expected to receive another check.  I had just written that out of my budget.

So the new surprise sub-total by Tuesday was $320.00.

Now to today's mail... I received two checks.  One from Quest Diagnostics, who I suppose had done some medical tests on someone in my family back in 2010.  I don't remember.  According to them, I overpaid my bill by $167.25.  They would like to reimburse me!

Great!  Usually when I get a letter from a medical provider inquiring about three-year-old service, they are demanding money not sending money.

New sub-total: $487.25.

The other check was from Amazon.  Amazon sells my Illuminating The Darkness book.  Honestly, they don't sell a lot of them, and for those they do sell, the royalties are transferred electronically to my personal account.  But there are a number of different "channels" Amazon sells through (Paper books, electronic books, referral service fees, third party merchants, international sales, institutional sales, etc.)  It can be complicated keeping up with it all.  Today I got a completely unexpected check for $110.08, for I'm-not-sure-what, something to do with unclaimed Kindle book sales.

Total: $597.33.

Now that is not exactly what I gave last Sunday, but it isn't too far off (and there are still 18 hours left before it is a full week).

So maybe all of this has just been a happy coincidence.  I honestly can't remember the last time I got totally unexpected money, much less five times in one week, but stranger things have happened.  Maybe all of this would have come to me whether I had been faithful last week or not.  But this is what I believe...

  • Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
  • Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, … If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10)

I am not suggesting that every faithful gift will come back to the giver in seven days.  I give regularly, and this has not happened like this before.  But I believe God will always be true to his word and that he will take care of those who are faithful to him.

I have never written a blog about giving.  Ordinarily this is something we keep very "in-house."  But I felt like I should share again so that his faithfulness might be praised.  Hope no one is offended.

Pastor Noel