JOY --- Jesus On the JourneY

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Mystery of My Pencil Can - or "What's in Your Wallet?"

The commercial says, "What's in your wallet?" With the economic crunch I would have to respond -- less and less. We have had some cutbacks in our income while at the same time increased monetary needs for the ministry. Twice I thought I had our budget balanced -- and then would come a new financial need and our living expenses would take another hit.

We believed that God was calling for greater sacrifice and stewardship than ever before and it made us excited to see how creative we could get as we pared down our budget. I do have to say that there was not a lot of "wiggle room" left in our discretionary spending.

One Sunday morning, I was thinking about the concept of stepping out with God for our giving as I was preparing our tithing envelope on the desk in our kitchen. My pencil can sits in the corner of that desk and as I went for a pen, I looked and there was $10 in it. Just when I had no cash left in my purse -- I thought "look at what God provided". I reckoned God wanted to put some "mad money" back in my now slim wallet. That was a blessing, I smugly thought, for being so frugal with my new budget.

The second week I found cash in the can, as well, not the same amount, but nonetheless, it was significant. I began to realize that it happened on the weeks when my mid-week ladies' Bible study would meet at our house, though I never saw anyone put it there.

In late February it was my Sunday to give the offering devotion. We had been talking about the fact that God gives us tests along the way and that in this financial upheaval, so many of our members were being tested and stretched in their pocketbooks. This particular week during praise and worship I felt the nudge to "pay it forward". I had already been feeling so blessed to have the spare cash from this strange weekly occurrence of "cash in the can". - but God's prompting seemed to be that I should use it (and the previous amount) for a specific need someone had each week. I admit that I did question a bit -- just when I thought HE was my replacing my spare cash, God seemed to be saying to let loose of what I was so nervously trying to hold on to.

Finally, more than halfway into our study I was able to determine which of the ladies was leaving a love gift behind. She and I never talked about it -- but today I e-mailed her to reveal that I had the "goods" on her.

Vicky is a radiant woman who lives with God in the moment every day and it shows on her face. She is a new friend who just happened to come to this study with a member of our church. God used her to teach us that HE is very present with us and our focus needs to be on what HE is doing and wants to do through us. . . not on our limitations. God is showing us new ways to cut back to be better stewards of our resources and still share. He is making me more careful with spending (I needed to be)--and at the same time prompting me to not be miserly toward others.

Vicky's generosity has caused such fun for us as it has become a delightful experience to see what need would arise and what would be in the can. I have seen that my "mad money" -- could be put to much greater Kingdom good than spent on my scores of projects.

The verse says -- Give, and it will be given to you. A 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 to you."

God is a Giver and has been so generous with us.
We appreciate those gifts even more at this time and we continue to thank Him that we still have jobs and the benefits they provide.

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