By Marieanne Rose
Before my story begins, please allow me to “set the stage”. In 1975, we had four young boys and I was serving on the board of a Christian organization. My dear husband – who is an Accountant – has always carefully managed our finances. He had a good job but – when the children were small – at times, things could be pretty tight.
Karl is a loving and caring man who is generous beyond belief. As a couple, we have embraced tithing for many years and that was never an issue for us. Our offerings over and above our tithe were another matter. I have to admit that I am a woman who can often be a “sucker” at offering time. A “soft touch” who hears a heart-rending need and – if parameters haven’t been previously agreed upon – I have been guilty of putting us in financial peril more than once.
I have to admit that I am a woman who can often be a “sucker” at offering time.
The time for our annual Women’s Retreat was fast approaching. The offering wouldn’t be our only expense for this event. There was the mandatory Registration Fee, my half of the Room cost, meals, and transportation. Merely attending this special weekend Retreat quite often ended up being a sacrifice for the family while – at the same time – being a special treat for me.
Several days before I left, we discussed the offering and we had come to an agreement about just how much I would put in that offering basket. When Karl and I attended Retreats together, we always made a practice of giving our entire offering the very first time the basket is passed…and in the following offerings, we would let the basket pass us by…so that’s just what I did.
The general topic of the retreat was “Sacrifice” and the speaker was awesome! She was thorough, motivating, and inspiring. She nailed many aspects of sacrifice in our lives and in the last session, she addressed financial sacrifice. A basket was passed at the end of every session and – as I previously mentioned – I had put my offering in at the conclusion of the first session on Friday evening.
I had been so touched by her final presentation that everything within me longed to give an offering back to God. I even knew the specific amount I wanted to give. I was frustrated and almost to that point of grieving deep within me.
I began talking to the Lord in my mind about the sadness I was feeling. I felt I was unable to give more without breaking the bond of trust that existed between Karl and I. Now – if Karl had been there – he probably would have made an exception – but, he wasn’t there!
I began talking to the Lord in my mind about the sadness I was feeling.
As the basket approached, a woman I did not know – who was sitting directly behind me – tapped me on the shoulder. She leaned forward and whispered in my ear. “This is my offering and I’m almost positive the Lord just told me that you had need of it…so I’m giving it to you.” She reached over my shoulder and quietly placed it in my hand.
I looked and it was exactly the amount that I desired to give. I was stunned, but I received the gift and placed it in the offering basket as it passed. As you might guess, this was a teaching moment for me.
In the days that followed, I thought about what had taken place. It seemed to me that God had seen my need to give and had enabled me to do it! His generosity in stepping into that place of provision was life changing for me.
His generosity in stepping into that place of provision was life changing for me.
This incident has forever impacted my giving! I now believe that giving can be a supernatural experience. At a moment in time, I suspect God is able to actually come and enter into our giving with us. From His great bounty, He provides us with all we need to be a blessing to others.
From His great bounty, He provides us with all we need to be a blessing to others.
Yes, I am a careful and responsible steward of all God gives and I try very hard not to waste what He has given…but I can only give what God has first given me. Just as God graciously provided the sacrificial ram for Abraham, I know He will provide all that we need to respond in generosity back to Him. I still LOVE to give!
It’s a privilege to enter into giving with our loving and generous God. II Corinthians 9:10 says, “For God is the One who provides seed to the sower!” I try very hard to wait on God, watch as He provides the seed, and then plant it where He directs!
St. Luke will host it’s annual Celebration and Giving Extravaganza on Friday, May 16. Join us as we celebrate the year of blessings and provisions God has granted and as we prepare and look forward with planning and anticipation to the year ahead!