Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. (Proverbs 3:27-28)
I remember when I was quite young our family receiving a couple of packages from the “Good Fellows” at Christmas. At that time our family consist of two adults and five children, two sons and three daughters, whose voices echoed throughout the house as a heard of wild elephants being chased by a mighty mouse. (Excuse the pun)
What a joy it was to be the recipients of goodies much needed, ranging from food, to clothes and toys. This act of kindness forever implanted a memory of not only what it means to receive, but also that of giving.
Through the years I have shared this story whenever possible. During Christmas when these dear “Good Fellows” are in the streets with their papers and buckets seeking donations, so other children may have a good Christmas, I also give, in memory of my childhood.
Unpleasant as well as enjoyable memories can be a good conduit in dealing with relationships. I’m sure what my mother and father had to face that year, brought not only tears of distress, but also of joy, knowing someone cared.
Last May my husband celebrated his 60th Birthday. We had a surprise party, and during the evening I asked the guests to be thinking about something they would like to share with everyone about my husband. My sister-in-law with tears flowing from her eyes mentioned a time when we were there for them. She did not go into details specifically concerning the event, but I knew exactly what she was talking about. We were “good fellows” to them at a time when they were struggling. We were the conduits God used to meet someone’s needs. My brother and sister-in-law now share enjoyable memories of a time that was very stressful for them, and I now realize how very much they needed us and just how thankful they are.
About twenty-five years ago, a time when my husband was between jobs, and our finances were quite low. Through unexpected circumstances, an International Student from Japan was going to stay with us for a few days. We really couldn’t afford to take her sight seeing, but the Lord provided the funds through an anonymous donor. Around this same time we also received an envelope in the mail with money in it, but no clue to who sent it. When the Lord lays on your heart to give because someone is in need, it would be a sin to ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I have witnessed the Lord’s provision many times throughout my Christian walk in meeting our needs through the generosity of others. This year has been one of the hardest financially on my husband and I, and yet we have encountered the goodness of the Lord through all our oppression. A person my husband worked with, all because he obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, literally gave me a station wagon…free! There was a need in my life and God used this man to meet that need. I try to remember to praise my Lord every time I drive my car, knowing it came from Him.
I urge you to remember next time your thoughts are focused on a specific need and you have the resources to meet that need, to not shrug your shoulders and let that moment pass from you without doing something to help. It is more blessed to give than to receive, I know, because I have been on both sides of the fence. I know what it’s like to have plenty and I know what it’s like to be in need.
Years ago, before I was saved, we won quite a lot of money in the Irish Sweepstakes. (A ticket given to us by my father-in-law) We were in our twenties, young and foolish, and this money was spent unwisely. We first bought a house in the suburbs, gave some to my mother (really not enough), and the rest was spent frivolously. I have thought over the years how wasteful and unthankful my husband and I were in how we handled our good fortune. So when I say, I know what it’s like to have plenty and to be needy, I’m speaking from experience.
Dear Heavenly Father, we are a needy people and because of your love for us, you sent the priceless gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. A gift none other could send, one that would restore us back to you. You freely gave to us when we were unlovable, unkind, selfish, and proud, walking as if there was no God. Our faces were turned from you, and we were enemies of God, yet you loved us and still do, unconditionally. Thank you Lord for that gift of eternal life which comes the moment we put our trust in you. The moment we realize we have sinned, and the penalty of that sin is death. We deserve your wrath, not your love and forgiveness. Yet through Jesus there is forgiveness, because He was the one who paid the price with His own shed blood. Thank you Lord for loving us so.