This week I did something I’ve never done before. I have prayed for the opportunity for quite a while now, because I’ve felt like this is what I needed to do, but when the time came, when God said “this is where I want you to give.” It was hard.
Although I’ve felt the tug on my heart for a while, when the time came for me to give, I was scared.
I worried, “Lord, what if I don’t have enough?!”
It’s hard for me to tell you that.
At first I set aside half. The control freak in me felt like if I just gave half, I would for sure have what I needed, but I could still give. I could give but I wouldn’t run the risk of not having enough. I knew I needed to give, but fear whispered “what if?” to me. So, I set aside half.
A few hours went by, after I had packaged up my gift, and I just couldn’t shake that feeling deep down that said half wasn’t what was asked of me. I needed to give it all.
“All of it Lord?!” I asked
“Yes. All of it.”
I couldn’t even bring myself to give my gift in person. I didn’t know the person who’s need I was meeting, but I couldn’t bare to look them in the face to give it. It would be too hard for me. I packaged up my gift, and then with tears streaming down my face, handed it to my husband to give where it needed to go. I felt silly for crying about it. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t hide my tears from him, even though I knew I was doing what I was supposed to. I didn’t realize it would be so hard. I didn’t realize how afraid and untrusting I was, until I had to let it go…until my gift belonged to someone else.
My husband wrapped his arms around me, and with tears in his own eyes, he reminded me that I was doing what I needed to do. He assured me it was the right thing, that I was giving something meaningful, and that I would be ok without it. He was right, but it was still hard for me.
As I was driving home from taking my kids to school the next morning, I was praying. I knew I did what I was supposed to, yet I still felt worried that my giving would leave me without enough. As I prayed I was reminded of the story of Elijah and the widow.
“Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.’ ” So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.”
I Kings 17:8-16 NKJV
This widow was at the end of her resources. She had just enough for one last meal and she was preparing to die. God commanded her to give, sacrificially. To give all that she had left, and he promised he would provide plenty for her. I’m sure in her situation it seemed impossible, but God is faithful.
This week I finally understood sacrificial giving. I like to think of myself as a giver. If I see a need that I am able to meet, I generally do, but this was the first time I’ve cried in fear when I gave. This was the first time it hurt to give. I may have given differently than the widow. I’m not at the point where I would starve to death, but when I gave, it took everything I had to trust God. This was the first time, I finally understood what it meant to give in faith that God will meet my needs.
I didn’t give money.
Sometimes money is hard for me to give too. I often worry about making ends meet in our own home so it’s hard to give money, but this time, money wasn’t what was needed. This time there was a need for something more precious, something more priceless, something that would require me to give sacrificially.
I’m not telling you this to toot my own horn. It’s honestly hard for me to write this at all. I’m embarrassed that the opportunity to meet someone else’s needs was hard for me. I’m embarrassed to say that I lacked faith and trust in God as a provider. I’m ashamed that my lack of faith caused me to hesitate, instead of give immediately, and joyfully.
I don’t want you to read this and think I’m some great, godly person because I gave up something that was hard for me. If that is the message I’m getting across, I have written about this all wrong. I have no intention of even telling you what I gave, because that part doesn’t matter. That part is between God and I. The reason I’m sharing this, is because each of us have something we could give, that would be hard. Sacrificial giving looks different for each of us.
What I gave may be something you have given before, and it was no big deal to you. Maybe you won’t understand why it was sacrificial for me to give what I did, and that’s ok. My faith is growing through this experience, and that is incredibly important. God used me to meet someone else’s needs, to help answer someone else’s prayers, and He’s asking me to trust Him at the same time in my own life. He very likely wants to do the same with you.
“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.””Mark 12:41-44 NKJV
The widow had nothing. What she gave would be mocked by others because it was so meager in their eyes. Her tiny flecks of money were so small, they wouldn’t even make a sound among the other coins offered up by other people, but the Lord saw her sacrifice. The Lord knew that she gave it all. He was honored. She gave sacrificially.