Yesterday I shared pictures and stories from our Christmas last week and I also mentioned that Jon gave me a wonderful gift I would share later. I opened up the sweetest card with a few homemade gift certificates (a romantic night out & unlimited smoochies were my favorites) and then this letter written by my husband. I know it is long and picture-less but it is worth reading, I promise!
Once upon a time… there was an amazing young couple who was having their first Christmas as man and wife. This couple had so many blessings in their first year of marriage that it would be hard to imagine their life getting any better. They started it off with the best wedding imaginable. They had a beautiful and relaxing honeymoon not soon to be forgotten. They adopted the cutest French Bulldog puppy to start their family together. Both of them got new, exciting jobs working for great companies. She started her own blog that quickly grew in popularity. They took trips, they had so much fun with friends and family, they got involved in small group and dedicated themselves more than ever to their church. Everything seemed to be going so well. What else could God have in store for them?
Throughout the year, this couple had been touched and guided by the Lord in so many ways. Whether it was through church sermons, spiritual song, or new friends sent to them who they could finally connect with spiritually, God was always there leading the way. One particular day, their church sermon spoke to the man so clearly that he left church full of excitement, eager to discuss it with his wife. The topic was tithing -- a willingness to offer up 10% of their income to do God’s work, whether it be through donations to the church, helping those in need, whatever it was they felt called to. It was not an easy decision because this couple had faced various financial burdens and they were focused on buying a house to expand their family. Nevertheless, their pastor challenged them to trust in the Lord, tithe their 10%, and watch how He would work in their lives to reward them. Somewhat reluctantly, this couple agreed to do it and wait to see what God had in store.
With the Christmas holiday quickly approaching, the couple decided not to tithe in November but instead holdover that money to put to great use by adopting families-in-need in December. They began researching places to give, causes that spoke to them, people who truly needed their help. The more they looked for individuals and families in need, the more excited they got about the thought of giving even simple items to people who had almost nothing at all. What started with an intention to adopt one or two families actually turned into the sponsoring of two Eldercare members with disabilities and three families who lost everything in the Bastrop wildfires. Each individual and family had their own unique circumstances, but the one common thread between them was their incredible appreciation for the little things the couple was able to provide them during their time of need.
Sweatshirts, toys, dog food, giftcards for groceries, a vacuum cleaner – all things most people would take for granted were received with such thanks and it warmed the couple’s hearts.
The couple knew that tithing was the right thing to do, and trusted that God would reward them for putting their trust in Him. The smiles on the adoptee’s faces were rewarding. The kind words and embraces of gratitude that were shared with the couple were even more rewarding. The experience of seeing such sadness and desperation in those adoptees’ lives, along with the couple’s new recognition of how blessed they truly are in their own lives, was beyond humbling. And as if all of this didn’t make the young couple feel great as it was, God provided for them financially as well. The morning after they had made their largest and most significant purchase of gifts for these families, the man received something very unexpected in his email…
… It was his very first purchase order at his new company, well ahead of its anticipated and somewhat shaky timeline. The deal would not only pay the couple more than enough money to cover what they had spent on these families, but also cover their next month’s tithe as well.
Some may call it coincidence, but the couple firmly believed that everything happens for a reason. It was plain to see that God was rewarding them for putting all of their trust in Him. The couple’s pastor had challenged them to tithe 10% and watch how God would work in their lives. He had told stories of families with financial crisis putting their trust in God through tithing, and who would then suddenly receive miraculous financial gifts and see things happening in their lives without any explanation other than God. The couple could now understand this for themselves and feel even closer to God than they ever had before. Without opening a single gift for themselves, this had already become the best Christmas the couple could have ever asked for and one that they will never forget.
Isn't it amazing how God provides? I was so reluctant to hand over our 10% even though it is such a small amount in the grand scheme of things. But the Lord promises, you give to Him and He gives back. Not just with spiritual gifts but financial too. We are walking examples of that. I had questions and God answered. I was weary, He calmed my soul. We gave to Him and He showed us grace. God is so good!