Yesterday I wrote about giving God the ‘first fruits’ or the best of what we earn. When I think about it…everything is his, and really I owe him everything. If you read my post from yesterday, Malachi, the secret came out, I have difficulty giving. Maybe you wondered how did I move from that place of holding, to that new place of giving happily.
For many of us it starts with a story. This is my mother-in-law’s story, as she told it to Dave and I early in our marriage.
Bill and Verlee married after the Korean war. They really started with very little, both growing up in farming families that didn’t own their own land. Bill got out of the service , and got a job in a factory. Nine months later they had their first son, David, my husband. There was a week sometime after Dave was born that Verlee realized she didn’t even have enough money to buy necessities, not even enough for bread and milk.
At this point in the story I can actually imagine the scene in the story… little sweet David, crying in his crib, crying, as he looks at his forlorn mommy. And then he’d see his mommy folding her hands and bowing in prayer. What do you do when you don’t have enough money for food? If you are Verlee, first you pray and then you do something you can can control. So… she started cleaning a closet.
As she was cleaning, she noticed a box of cards people had given to her for their wedding. She began to read the cards for comfort. In one of the cards, deep in the box something else fell out of the envelope.
God’s love floated out of the envelope. It was in the form of money… just enough for bread and milk. He provides for us and blesses us. That day when she told me that story she looked into my eyes…always give your best, your first fruits to God.
This is now a generational story, as we have had Grandma retell it to our children. Four years ago, as my daughter was preparing to move out-of-state to be married, she laid a folded check on our kitchen counter and said, “Mom, I won’t be at Willow this weekend (she was leaving the next day), could you please take this to church with you and dad and put it in the offering?” After she left that day, I cried, because I knew how hard it must have been to write that check. She was practically penniless because of all the wedding and moving expenses. But she believed that God would supply all her needs, she had faith to believe in God’s promise of provision.
It was my job to bring her wedding dress down south for the wedding. Before it was bagged for the journey, I secretly sewed a pocket into the folds of her dress. This is another family tradition. Inside it, I tucked a small sticky note that I had written. And, I think you’ve guessed it, a check for the same amount she had tithed before leaving. It will always be a special memory as I saw her open and read it on her wedding day.
I couldn’t have captured the essence of my daughter better than this.
Opening her secret pocket. This is a memory I will treasure in my heart always.
My favorite life verse: Proverbs 3;5-6 Trust in the Lord God with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.