Friday, December 1, 2017

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38
Courtney counted the money in her piggy bank one more time. If she worked it right, she would have just enough money to buy what she wanted for her mom, her dad, and her little sister. She had been saving her allowance money for several months, forgoing the Snack Shack after school and not buying any new headbands like she usually did. The saving had paid off. She had just enough to get the gifts she wanted to give.
Grandma had promised to take her to the mall this weekend and Courtney could hardly wait. Maybe she would even chip in for some nice cards and fancy wrapping paper. If not, Courtney would make them herself. She wanted these gifts to be special this year, especially her dad’s. It was nice to have him home again and to be able to look forward to a “regular” Christmas morning, not like the one last year where they were shuttled from house to house and had to eat dinner with people they didn’t know.
One weekday morning, for some reason, Courtney decided to stick the money in her backpack. She wasn’t planning on going to the mall until the weekend and she had youth group at church that night so she wasn’t real sure what prompted her to put the money in her bag. But she did.
At youth group that night, after the lesson, all the grades gathered in the big room to watch a video clip. The clip was about some poor children in South America. Courtney felt bad for them. They didn’t have anyone to buy them presents and would never know the joy of giving to someone else. When the clip had finished, the pastor spoke about these poor children and how the church had adopted them for Christmas. They were collecting money and gifts to send to them.
Immediately, Courtney thought about the money in her backpack. She knew it would provide food, clothing and even presents for these poor children. But if she gave them that money, then she wouldn’t have any to buy the things she wanted to buy. And she REALLY wanted to buy those things. She hugged her backpack tighter and sat there, lost in thought.
Before she knew it, the big room had pretty much cleared out. Courtney was still sitting there with her backpack. She saw the basket of money that the church had collected that night for the poor children in South America. Slowly she rose and walked over to the basket. She unzipped her backpack, took out her precious money, and placed it in the bowl. The pastor said, “God bless you, Courtney,” as she counted out all she had for the collection. In her heart she knew why she had put that money in her backpack that day. She knew that Jesus was calling her to give.

“Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.”  Mark 4:24
As Courtney climbed in the backseat of the car, she was still wrestling with herself. It had felt so right to give all that money but she also felt so bad that she couldn’t get the gifts she had planned on getting. Mom noticed her mood and asked what was wrong. Courtney told her about putting the money in her backpack that day and about the poor children and how she had given them all her money.
Mom was proud of Courtney and knew that she had heard from the Lord that day. She praised her for being obedient to what she had been led to do. She talked about how Jesus leads us in our lives and how if we listen and obey, it will always turn around for our good.
As Courtney got ready for bed, she noticed the piggy bank on her dresser, the bottom stopper sitting next to it, and the inside empty. “Well,” she thought to herself, “I can always make presents for everyone.”
The next morning, as Courtney was choosing her outfit for school that day, she noticed something strange. The piggy bank was in a different place on her dresser and the stopper was back in the bottom. She wondered about that and went to check it out. As she lifted the bank, she heard coins rattling around and she could tell that there was something in there. As she opened the bank, she found lots of loose change and dollar bills. Courtney counted the money. Not only was there as much as she had before, there was even more! Somehow, God had found a way to restore the money she had given. Not only restore it, but restore it in abundance! Now Courtney knew what her mom had been talking about last year when she spoke of what the Lord would do for their family. He not only restores, He blesses in abundance.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
God bless, 

Kim, a stander in Nebraska

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