by the Night Writer
Earlier in the week I posted a link to a talk I presented last month to the Inside Outfitters group about the need and benefits of living with an open hand (my part starts about five minutes into the podcast). In the talk I shared several of my experiences over the years where I was prompted to give something (usually money) to someone and the things that had happened for myself or my family as a result. The main point was to show how important it is to have an open hand (as opposed to a grasping or fisted hand) in order to both receive from God and to hand on the blessing to others. It was a fun message to prepare since it caused me to go back over so many wonderful memories. The trap, of course, is to spend too much time looking back and not enough looking ahead.
At about the same time I did that little presentation I also also received an unexpected gift from my new company, honoring my 15 years of experience. Actually, the experience was with my previous company, which had just been acquired by the new company. The new company, though, carried everyone’s seniority forward into its own benefit structure and I suddenly found myself with an American Express Gift Certificate for $75. “Hoo-lah!” I thought, “What toy can I spend this on?”
The thing was, I have just about all the toys I could possibly want — at least among those in the $75 price range — and I couldn’t think of anything even after giving it some thought over a weekend. Then, duh, I remembered what I’d preached and realized that I was overlooking a basic calculation. The Word says God “supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food,” (2 Corinthians 9:10); therefore I should look at everything that comes to me as either being bread (something I need to live) or seed (something to sow “to increase the fruits of my righteousness”) and this unexpected windfall clearly looked like seed to me. Then, instead of shopping, the fun part became looking around trying to find out who I was supposed to give the card to. Over the next week or so I saw a couple of possible opportunities, even good ones, but I didn’t have an inner release that any of these were what the card was for (we gave other things instead).
Then, quite unexpectedly, I re-connected with an old friend I hadn’t seen or heard from for nearly 25 years (and the way I got reconnected is pretty incredible and too complicated to go into here). We exchanged some emails and agreed to get together for lunch this week. In the course of our emails I learned that this woman was going through a tough time and trying to get a small business started. As I thought about it over the weekend, prior to meeting for lunch, I decided that the gift card was meant for her even though it wasn’t much compared to the size of the challenge she was facing. When we met I found the opportunity to give her the card and share a little about how it had come to me in the first place and how I’d been looking for the right person to give it to and that I was pretty sure it was for her. As I was saying these things, and handing her the card, she was smiling pleasantly and perhaps a little uncomfortably as most people are when receiving something. Since the value of the card wasn’t marked on it, however, I then told her that it was worth $75, thinking she might buy groceries or something with it. Her eyes blinked several times and she suddenly looked half-stunned.
It turns out she had been pricing some supplies she needed in order to get her business started, and the amount she figured she was going to need was…$75.
I have no way of knowing how she’s going to do in her new endeavor, or if it will be 25 days or 25 years before I ever see her again, but it was a tremendous rush to be used to encourage someone in such an unexpected way. Its always been fun to give, but when something comes together the way this did it’s even more satisfying — and feels even better than getting a new iPod. I also hope that, as welcome as the money might be to her, the sense of knowing that God is aware of you and is thinking of ways to let you know that is priceless.