Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
- Psalm 112:6-9
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
- 2 Corinthians 9:6-9
“Losing my job back in October was a great blow to me. My meager saving were dwindling and job prospects were not good. On top of everything else, Christmas was fast-approaching.
“I looked over my gift list. After eliminating several names, I sat down and wrote notes to friends saying that I would not be sending gifts. However, there were still five people that I felt I had to buy presents for, including my three-year-old granddaughter.
“… I felt a nudge, as if God were saying, ‘Look over there.’ I found several books that would make wonderful gifts, including a beautifully illustrated book of Bible stories for my granddaughter. … I’d only spent $62.30. …
“Again, I felt a nudge, so I went to the post office where I found just one piece of mail from my insurance company. I thought, ‘What a waste of time,’ and I started to stuff the envelope into my purse. Another nudge.
“I opened the envelope and inside was an unexpected dividend check for $65.15. God had provided for my Christmas shopping with a $2.85 bonus for me!”
“What blessings have already been given to you, yet somehow they haven’t seemed ‘big’ enough to notice. Be aware of the simple things and give God credit. He wants to bless you.”
- Francis L. Partain-Martin, A Christmas Bonus from God, an essay from God’s Abundance, edited by Kathy Collard Miller
NOTE: The fact that both Scripture references are the same verse numbers (6-9) is a mere coincidence, at least not planned, but to a numbers guy like me, it is not a mere coincidence. God is good, all the time.
My wife did not get a bonus like the author did, but the same thing happened to her. Our older son had invited her to join them in Orlando, Florida, to go to Disney World with his family – not at Christmas time. They drove down from Nebraska to Florida. They wanted my wife to meet them down there, and the airline ticket for my wife would “only be” a few hundred dollars. This was while I was working, but we seemed to always spend what we had at the time.
I bought the ticket for her, but she prayed that we’d find the money so that we would not go in the whole that month, or have an increase in our credit card balance. The next day, we got a dividend check from our insurance company, totally unexpected, for the exact amount of the airline ticket.
Of course, this was the trip where she was shoved from a ride by teen-agers getting on the ride at the theme park. She fell, cracked her radius (arm bone) right at the funny bone (not funny) and tore her rotator cuff also. The therapy after the shoulder surgery was the worst part. There is still a little pain on occasion, but the strange thing is when the tendon slides over the scar tissue from the healed bone crack, it makes a snapping sound that you can hear from the next room, almost like cracking a whip. Again, not funny. But the only cost for the trip to Walt Disney World was the cost of admission. All thanks to God answering prayers.
Yesterday, as of the day this was written, we made a deposit in our checking account. The account balance was getting low due to helping our son in Tennessee. We deposited a $100 refund check from a computer company. I have no idea what the check was for – rebate for a purchase, I suppose. We use that company’s laptops and their printer and their printer ink. But the way we got the check was unusual. Our younger son called this past spring or early summer. He said that we had unclaimed property at the state treasurer’s website in PA. He had been checking to see if he had anything and accidentally found our name. I checked it out and printed the claim paperwork. I feared a scam, so I cross-referenced everything. The site really was originating at the state treasurer’s office. I signed the forms and sent them in, forgetting about it, until two days ago, when the check arrived, 4-5 months after I had applied for ‘unclaimed property.’ I must give our son a finder’s fee.
Our greatest gift yesterday was hearing our son’s voice and not having it monitored by the nurses. He was out of the hospital, but he had great financial news on top of just wanting to talk. His final paycheck from the school was supposed to have been a half check, having only worked one week of the two-week pay period before being forced into unpaid sick leave. Yet, it was almost a complete check. He’d already made that adjustment in his checkbook. When he had a moment after getting out of the hospital, he went by an ATM to check the balance in his account. He thought that they would find an amount of nearly nothing and must adjust their grocery shopping accordingly. But what he found was a balance of four digits, low four digits, but a lot more than nothing. Where did the money come from?
Then he remembered that some school districts have the capability of one teacher gifting another teacher (down on their luck and ill) a sick day. At the end of the year, you lose sick days anyway, and some teachers ‘never get sick,’ so why not? Since our son had often jumped from one school system to another, the fine print of the rules of his present school escaped him. Had his elementary school faculty gifted him sick days so that he could stay solvent during the holidays? If so, he can thank God, but also thank every teacher in the school. He might never know which teachers gifted him the free days off.
It is odd. I have been reading through the book, God’s Abundance, all this year for part of my morning devotions. Mostly the stories are mildly interesting. I often skim through quickly, even more so with the usual stories that talk about memories of Christmas past – not very meaty stories. The first line of this one caught my eye, losing a job in October and not having a job during the Christmas season. My last lay-off was in late October five years ago, and I never got a fulltime, permanent job again. My first temporary contractor job did not come until the following April.
My first lay-off, 25 years ago, when the NASA project lost funding and the entire site shut down, we were laid off on December 20th. The consortium of companies thought they would look bad by laying us off on the day that was supposed to be the beginning of the paid Christmas break. They negotiated with NASA to pay us through the holidays, an extra two-weeks of ‘paid vacation’.
So, I was riveted to the plight of the author of this essay, and she is right. We should never overlook the little blessings that God provides. They don’t have to be Christmas blessings. We need help twelve months of the year.
Praise the Lord, for He is good, and He is faithful to us, even when the blessings are not noticed.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.