We were late for nap and driving toward the store to get the last few ingredients I needed for dinner. My three year old was in the back of the car enjoying a home-made fruit roll-up (a special treat) and singing songs while we waited at the stoplight, and what happened in the next half hour radically changed my spiritual life in regards to finances…
It is almost humorous how the sin of pride creeps up on us when we least expect it. I can all too often recall pridefully reflecting on how money was not our God, after all, how could it be when we’ve had no money to spend? Living month to month and scrounging every penny, it became quite easy to dismiss the myriad of scriptures that warn us what can happen if wealth and finances rule our lives. One day I was praying through Luke, and as I read I was struck in a new way by Luke 16:13, “You cannot serve God and Mammon”. At first I contentedly pondered that we had done a fine job of “not laying up treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19) as we had no money to “lay up treasures” with.
Ready to start my busy day, I hurried on to pray when the Holy Spirit spoke firmly and convictingly into my life about what it means to serve God versus money. I began to realize (through the Grace of God) that finances can be our master not only in their abundance but in their lack as well. My sins in this area were that I had allowed my worry about our finances and how we would get by in the short and long term to overshadow my trust in God as the provider. I was using my finances as an excuse to not give generously and freely as Christ called us to. Martin Luther King said, “There are three conversions necessary, the conversion of the heart, mind and the purse”. It is often easy to think of converting our heart and mind to the things of Christ but truly and intentionally examining our purse and how that can be used in a powerful way when it is given over to God is something that I had never considered before. So practically for our family we began to intentionally “converting our purse” to Christ.
One of the biggest things that I pray through is that of giving. When God calls us to give we ought to give. It is our act of obedience to Him. The Widow gave her last mite (Mark 12:41) in obedience, and if we are called to do so, we must be willing to give it as well. This past year has been one of transformation for me as I try and let go of my “purse” and hold onto the promises of God and obediently give sacrificially.
But to finish my story, we were sitting at a stoplight when my daughter, with her mouth full of her treat, asked about the man on the side of the road who was begging. I explained what his sign said: “hungry vet needs food,” and she immediately removed the fruit roll up from her mouth and asked if she could give it to him. Her favorite treat lay soggy and sticky in her chubby palms, and I sat at the light looking at her longing to give, not just in general, but to give sacrificially and generously her treat to the stranger she had never met. As we drove through the light I realized the importance of allowing her to obey the call of God on her three year old life to give generously to this man in need. We drove to the local store and with our last $10 in grocery money my daughter selected some food for him. We drove back and she handed him the food out the window. The rest of the week I wondered how we would get by without the food that that $10 was suppose to by, and you know what? GOD PROVIDED FOR THE MAN THAT WAS BEGGING AND FOR OUR FAMILY! Somehow my pantry grew that week and our family continued to eat healthily without a problem.
The way my heart grew by being obedient to the call God had on my daughters’ life was huge, but the lesson that demonstrated to her about listening when we are asked to give generously and sacrificially will help her as she continues to listen to the voice of God in years to come. We now have brown paper bags in our car which we stock with non perishables, toothbrushes and a tract so when we see someone in need we can give when we are called even amongst busy schedules and nap times. My kids love everything in those bags but they still hand them over joyfully when they see someone in need. My 2 year old even offered her favorite toothbrush to the bags the other day (if you knew how much she loved that well worn brush you would agree that her sacrifice was on par with the widow who gave her last mite).
Now it is your turn to chime into this conversation. In what ways do you intentionally give sacrificially to invest in the lives of others and how do you bring your children alongside you in this task? What benefits has your family reaped from generous giving?
(Post by: Amie)