Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)
TITLE: My Ends and God's Means
By Lillian Rhoades
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An almost empty bin of flour sat on the shelf of the cupboard in the sparsely furnished room, while a young boy waited patiently near the front door for his mother.
Some distance away, near the city gate, his mother gathered kindling wood for their final meal. With nothing left except a cup of flour and a little oil, starvation was certain. Her body bent to the ground, and heart lower still, everything around her was caught in the shadow of her despair, including the old man who stood nearby.
Startled by his voice, she barely hung on to the bundle of sticks in her hand.
"Come hither", he said, "and bring me a cup of water."
His second request aborted her compliance to his first request and pressed hard, almost mockingly, against her desperation.
"Could you also bring me a piece of bread?"
Water? That she could do.
Bread...She held out her arms toward the stranger.
"You're asking for what I don't have. My cupboard is bare except for a handful of flour and a little oil. Do you see these sticks, sir? They're firewood to bake a cake for my son and me. After that, there's nothing left. Death awaits us."
The widow woman discovered that day what I experienced one Sunday morning after church. When the strong cord of God's resources connect to the bare threads of our meager resources, miracles happen. Although my pantry wasn't bare, my checking account barely made it through the Christmas season.
Funds were low.
At church, earlier that day, I had decided to give a portion of my tithes with every intention of giving the remaining amount when my finances improved. I did not know that on this Sunday, the offering would be collected <i>after the sermon.</i>
The title of the sermon, "A Blessed Life is a Generous Life," caused me to squirm under the blazing fire of God's rebuke. When it came time to bring our offering, I dropped a check for the full amount of my tithes into the offering plate.
God would have to stretch my budget to meet my needs.
After church, I stopped by the store to buy my favorite salad for lunch. The sign on the deli window read:
Crunchy Vegetable Salad reduced from $4.99 per lb.. to $.79 per lb.
When I asked the clerk why such a huge reduction?
"We ordered too much."
But I knew better.
When I get to heaven, I'll have to look up the widow woman, so I can share my story, too.
I'll have plenty of time to look back and reflect on other times when God demonstrated His power to connect what I didn't have to what He always has.
Together we can join Annie Flint and sing:
"When we've reached the end of our hoarded resources, our Father's full giving has only begun."
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