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Give to Others and Watch God Provide!

give-to-others1Marlene was married with four children – all boys. Fairly early on in her marriage she contracted a crippling disease that if not checked would become terminal. The disease kept her mostly bedridden and unable to cope with even the simplest of her household and motherly chores.

Marlene’s husband was saddled with the responsibility of going to work every day and then coming home and taking care of the household, the children, and his invalid wife.

The pressure of this situation continued for 12 long years until one day when Marlene turned to Jesus Christ and asked him to heal her. She desperately longed to be the wife her husband needed and to take care of her children and home.

The Lord Jesus responded to her plea. Her excruciating pain and other debilitating effects began to subside and soon she was able to function in an ever-increasing capacity at home and at work. But after 12 years of hardship and deprivation, Marlene’s husband gave up and abandoned the family. Suddenly she was faced with responsibilities and challenges she had never before experienced.

At this time, Marlene started attending church and turned to her pastor for help. In particular, she needed advice in managing her finances. So as a first step, the pastor asked her how much income she had to work with each month and then listed all the routine expenses. From this data they drew up a spending plan.

After reviewing the spending plan, Marlene asked in a troubled voice, “But where do we account for the money I give to God? I want to give him ten percent of everything that comes in.” To which the pastor responded with empathy, “Marlene, I’m afraid you can’t afford to give. The money just isn’t there after your basic expenses.” She had barely enough money to pay the mortgage, utilities, put food on the table and gas in the car.  That was it. There wasn’t even anything there for clothes or school supplies for her boys, much less for any emergency or contingency that might come along.

Marlene continued to implore her pastor that there must be some money somewhere she could give to the Lord. But her pastor insisted, “You can’t afford to give away one cent, much less a tenth!” Marlene responded, “You don’t understand. God has given me my life back. I love him and want to honor him with my income. You cannot deny me this joy!”

Her pastor, realizing that she was bound and determined to give to God, set up an additional account page in her ledger and titled it, Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Her pastor then instructed her, “Every time you need something in your day-to-day activities and you don’t have the money for it, get on your knees and tell God what you need. And ask him to meet your financial need to give back to him. Rehearse with him what he’s promised you about meeting all your needs, and every time he provides for you, enter that amount on this page in your ledger.”

Three months later, Marlene came back to review her spending plan with her pastor and to update him on how things were going. By far and away, the page in her ledger with the most activity was the Philippians 4:19 page. Line after line she had recorded all the things and all the ways God had faithfully answered her prayers to meet the needs of her family and allow her to give back to him a portion of it.

“When we give money away, we not only neutralize its power over us, but we also bring it under the domain of the Kingdom of light.  Nongrace is turned into grace.  God is honored, and His lordship is confirmed.”  – Richard A. Swenson, MD

“Our giving is a reflexive response to the grace of God in our lives.  It doesn’t come out of our altruism or philanthropy—it comes out of the transforming work of Christ in us.”  – Randy Alcorn
 
2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

©2009 Rob Fischer