Seed Faith Money

Seed Faith Money

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Faith

Seed Faith Money

My friend Rosemary was newly divorced and overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility of raising two daughters alone. There were many weeks when she had less than fifty dollars to her name.

At Easter time, Rosemary’s daughter Theresa discovered a pea-sized lump on her collarbone. Tests showed Hodgkin’s disease and a tumor that filled forty percent of her chest cavity.

In addition to the terror of watching Theresa suffer, Rosemary was also distraught over the enormous medical bills piling up. The hospital was demanding a fifteen-hundred-dollar payment.

A few weeks later, quite unexpectedly, Rosemary was named “Employee of the Year” at work and received a prize of fifteen hundred dollars: exactly the amount she needed. What a stroke of luck!

At church that Sunday, an overpowering inner voice was so loud and clear she shook her head to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. The voice said, “Give Maggie a hundred dollars.”

“What?” Rosemary demanded.

“Give Maggie a hundred dollars.”

Maggie? The Maggie whose job I took over when she quit at work? She was the only Maggie that Rosemary knew. Why does this woman need me to give her a hundred dollars? Rosemary asked the inner voice. I’m the one struggling financially! At least Maggie has a husband to help her.

Rosemary thought about her recent windfall. After tithing and paying taxes on it, the amount she actually cleared from that prize was less than a thousand dollars—not even enough to cover the hospital payment. Now someone—was it God?—was asking her to give one hundred dollars to a woman she hardly knew.

“This is ridiculous,” she said to herself. “Why, it’s total fiscal irresponsibility!”

At home that afternoon, Rosemary kept hearing the voice: “Give Maggie a hundred dollars.”

She dug deep into her faith reserve and remembered the verse from Matthew 28:20 that says, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Rosemary thought back to the last few months of Theresa’s struggle with Hodgkin’s disease. By now, she was well on the road to recovery. She hadn’t even gotten sick from the chemotherapy. Yes, God had been with them throughout the whole ordeal, but Rosemary also knew that God didn’t ask for paybacks.

It didn’t make sense, but Rosemary reached for her checkbook. Shaking and sweating, she wrote the check and mailed it to Maggie. A week later Maggie stood on Rosemary’s doorstep. Smiling, Maggie handed the check back. “I can’t accept this, Rosemary, but I want you to know that you certainly did God’s work when you sent it. My husband was getting so bitter about God and religion. He was so touched by your generosity, he’s acting like a whole new person. Thank you so much,” she beamed as she pressed the hundred-dollar check back into Rosemary’s hand.

The next Sunday, Rosemary tithed an extra ten dollars for the hundred dollars Maggie had given back to her. On Monday, Rosemary received a check in the mail from her Aunt Joey for a hundred dollars for no particular reason—something her aunt had never done before.

On Tuesday, Rosemary tithed ten dollars of that money to the church.

On Friday, she received a hundred-dollar check in the mail from her good friend, Sharon, who enclosed a note that said simply, “I’m sure you can use this.” Sharon had never done such a thing before.

That’s when it hit Rosemary square in the eye. She thought to herself, “When God asked me to give Maggie a hundred dollars for no apparent reason, I listened—a bit grudgingly, I’ll admit. Was it a test, like when God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son? And just as God spared Isaac at the last minute, did He ‘spare me’ by bringing back that one hundred dollars three times in six days?”

Several years later, Rosemary’s finances were again extremely grim. Her older daughter, Claire, was getting ready to go back to college, and Rosemary was frantic over how she would come up with the money for her tuition. In faith, she reluctantly sold some antique jewelry that had been given to her years earlier.

The next Sunday, Rosemary slipped into the pew next to Margaret, a struggling single parent. The familiar inner voice said, “Give a hundred dollars to Margaret.”

Rosemary almost wailed out loud. “Now just a minute!” she said to that inner voice. “I took a loss on the jewelry when I sold it, because I have faith in You! And You’re still asking me to give Margaret a hundred dollars?”

Rosemary knew it was useless to argue. The world says “Hang onto your money.” But sometimes, God says “Give it away.” She gave Margaret a hundred dollars.

Within five days, the bank suddenly approved an “iffy” college loan toward Claire’s tuition. In addition, the following week Rosemary received a generous and quite unexpected raise at work.

The next week in church, she quieted herself and prepared to “listen” to what God had in mind for her now—more out of curiosity at the absurdity of it all than with real eagerness. Within a few minutes, she was directed to give another struggling single parent, whom she barely knew, one hundred and fifty dollars. This time there was no, “Aw, come on, God, You’ve got to be kidding!” By this time, she was a believer. She’d been taught more than once that if she just put out a seedling effort, God would return His bounty in bushels.

~Patricia Lorenz

Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul

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