Jamin (our son number six) relayed to his mother a feel-good story on Tuesday of this week.
Jamin is entering his second year of law school at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He had lived in an apartment he leased for one year. But, he and two friends went together, and will start leasing together an apartment next month for the coming year.
This past week, Jamin, accompanied by nephew, Justus, traveled from Martinsburg, WV, to make the switch on the upcoming living arrangement. One of the prospective roommates was present to lend a hand.
At lunchtime, the three went to a familiar restaurant to eat. Afterward, on the way out, Jamin said that he was confronted just outside the door by a woman and a little girl. Jamin described the two as being in an obvious disheveled condition.
The woman asked if Jamin would be willing to give them some money so they could purchase some food at a nearby grocery store. “We are very hungry,” she added.
Jamin said “No. I will not give you money. But, if you will allow me, I will take the two of you inside and gladly buy the two of you a meal in the name of Jesus Christ.” The woman readily agreed, and, in due course, expressed a great deal of appreciation for the provision of a filling meal.
However, on the way out, Jamin was approached by another lady standing near the door. “Young man, did you just pay for those two to have a lunch saying it would be in the name of Jesus Christ?” She asked gently. After Jamin affirmed that he had, the woman replied, “I just want you to know that the Lord is going to bless you richly today for your kindness.” Jamin was surprised at the words.
Sure enough – Jamin said it was less than thirty minutes later that he received a call from one of the officials of the law school that they were going to increase his scholarship by an additional $6000! Now, you cannot beat that with a stick!
But, the affirming truth that stands so firmly is that you absolutely cannot out-give God. That is absolutely how God is when we give in His name with the right heart and motives. That is how God is when we properly respect the rich providence He directs our way. That is how God is when we use what He has given to us qualifying it in His name for His honor and glory.
One of the contributing writers to Proverbs states, “Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the first fruits of all your increase. So shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.”
Has it occurred to those of you associated with the church how sinful and disgusting in the sight of God it is to take what He has blessed you with and take chances with it on the providence of man? Every time you buy a lottery ticket or spend money gambling in the venues okayed by the state that you literally wave your dollars in the face of God, saying, “God, you are not doing enough for me. I need to chance that I will be able to cash in on the providence of man.”
I know quite a few people associated with the church who buy the lottery tickets, and there are times that they win a few bucks. But, what they do is that they take the little they win and buy more lottery tickets.
That is so senseless. Why not take what you would spend on gambling efforts and give it to God? Or, help meet the needs of a child that is hungry? Or, qualify it by directing it to a worthy cause in the name of Jesus Christ. Gambling is a serious display of selfishness, greed, and disdain for the great God that is so good to you. Furthermore, gambling breaks the tenth commandment, which is, “ You shall not covet.”
If you absolutely cannot out-give God, why depend on other unreliable sources for providential gifts?
In the meantime, I wonder how did the second lady know that God was going to bless Jamin so quickly? Curious.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.