I am sharing this story not to pat myself on the back, but to share an instance of God pouring abundance into my life.
It was 2004 and Christmas was coming around. I was about 20 years old. For the past few years, my family had been 'adopting' a family (sometimes two) around Christmas time through a local program called Christmas Neighbors. The point of the program was to help families who were unable to provide gifts for their children with presents and a nice meal during the holidays.
For whatever reason, my family wasn't doing it that year. I had some extra money saved and wanted to still help out some families. I decided to adopt two families. I called each family, got their kids' wish lists, and the food items they desired for dinner.
Between then and a few days before Christmas, I got as much as I felt I could afford for these families, and delivered the gifts to their residences (this was fun!). The first residence I delivered to was during the evening, a family with a newborn baby. The mother was so grateful and sweet. I delivered to the second family the next day late morning. The mother of a few children told me they don't normally do this but this year was tough. The mother had a friend over who also had a kid. When she and her son saw all the stuff I brought for the family I had adopted, she expressed how she wished she was able to give more to her son. I felt bad for her, so I went to my vehicle where I happened to have an extra $200 in my wallet leftover from the gift shopping. I gave it to her and told her to get something nice for her son. I can only hope that she actually did use that money for her son, but will never know for sure. I gave her the money regardless, because I knew the more I gave, the more I would receive.
It was a truly rewarding Christmas, and I felt good that I shared what I had with some less-fortunate people. After everything was said and done, I had probably spent over $1,000 on those families. Seems like a lot for 20-year-old kid, right? But when your parents pay for most of your bills, and whatever you make you get to keep, it ends up not being all that big of a sacrifice. I knew I was a bit spoiled, and that I had a responsibility as a Christian to help some people who weren't.
You're probably asking why this story is under the Finances category? And the answer is, while helping others is one of the greatest and most rewarding things you can do, it is not the main point of this story. The main point of this story came about 7 months after I had sown my seed of faith.
My grandpa had always wanted to take me out to play Bingo when I turned 18, but we had never gotten around to it. We decided to play all day, two sessions, with my great aunt. The three of us had an uneventful first session, and I began to wonder why I had spent nearly $80 to play high-stakes bingo. The second session was a different story. I won a game, solo. $1,000 payout. A person from the casino came over to my table and slapped $1,000 cash down on the table. I couldn't believe what had just happened, winning among 100's of other players! I had to collect myself so I could keep playing, as the caller waits for no one! A few games later, I was staring at one number I needed to win... BINGO! Except this time, another person yelled bingo with me. Not to worry, their bingo ended up being invalid, which meant another $1,000 to me. The employee came over again, and slapped another $1,000 down on the table. I couldn't believe what had happened.
I walked out of the casino with a wallet exploding with cash, more than I had ever had on me. Why? Because God always gives back more than what is given in His name. You might say, well that was just luck! Luck? It takes more than luck to win twice in the same session at a high-stakes crowded bingo hall -- SOLO. Besides, if I'm so lucky, why haven't I won again since after going at least four more times?
Because winning at bingo is HARD! And it is rare, and winning twice in the same session is nearly impossible... except when God has a hand in it. I have learned that when I give, God will pour more into my life in a variety of ways. I had given to those families around $1,000, and had received twice as much in return!
I do not suggest going to a bingo hall with the expectation of winning money, but I do suggest giving to others of your time, money, or talents whenever you have the opportunity. I KNOW that God will see your good deeds, and reward you in unimaginable ways:
"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." - Proverbs 12:25
Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!
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