Monday, November 28, 2011
Where does money grow?
This all happened just the other week.
It was just supposed to be a simple tune up. That was it. My truck had been misfiring for a couple of months, but I kept putting it off. Vehicle repairs are never cheap, but I wanted to have my truck running well before I traveled for Thanksgiving. So I gritted my teeth, put on my big boy shoes and made an appointment.
That night at my small group, we discussed finances, specifically giving tithes and offerings even when times are hard. I felt especially convicted, because I hadn’t given my tithe in about a month. I also owed another offering from a previous commitment I’d made to the church. It wasn’t that I didn’t have money, but rather I continually forgot to do it. As discussion wrapped up, I felt confident that God would provide enough money for my tithe and offering and still have enough to pay for the truck.
Then everything went sideways.
The initial estimate on the truck was hefty, but still payable. Then I got a second call from the shop telling me that the damage was worse than they first thought. The mechanic, Tim, tactfully asked me if I’d ever taken the truck in for a tune up, to which I grumbled “no”. Tim told me that it would be another day or two before the repairs were done. He didn’t know what the final cost would be, but he said he would “work with me on the price”, which I took as a bad omen.
All this bad news left me a royally foul mood. The guys at work asked what the news was about the truck and I replied with a grumble and a scowl. Aaron, my coworker, has seen me like this enough times that he knew the best thing to do was not to ask me about it, but get my mind on other things, so by the end of the day I was in a better mood. Not a good mood mind you, just better.
By this point, I’d forgotten the promise that God would provide me with what I needed for the repairs and my offering. At this point, I’d be content with God providing lunch.
Then my boss, Dave, asked about the truck. I politely said that it was a mess but it would work out eventually. While Aaron was giving me a ride home, Dave called me. He told me that he would gladly give me a couple hundred bucks to help pay for the truck. My exact response was “Wait, I don’t understand.” He explained again clearly and asked what I didn’t understand. “You don’t get it,” I said “I was raised Baptist. We don’t deal well with receiving charity.” Dave hung up the phone, not wanting to indulge my stubborn pride any further.
The next day, I was in an inexplicably good mood. I was joked with the guys at work about my pigheadedness the day before. Even when I got the final numbers on the truck (which had tripled since the initial estimate) I was able to take it in stride. I wondered if I was okay in the head, for being so joyous in the face of such a depressing financial situation
In the end, I had enough money for the repairs. Even with the money Dave had given me, my bank account was stretched thin and I had to take a good bite out of my savings, but it was done. I wasn’t completely broke and my truck was now running better than it had in years.
Then something occurred to me. The amount left in my savings was within a couple dollars of my tithe (which I’d yet again forgotten about). Not only that, but it was the same amount that Dave had given me to help pay for the truck. I’d heard of people emptying their savings accounts and giving it to the church but I never thought it would look quite like that.
So what choice did I have? God kept his promise. The only reason I even had that much money was because God nudged Dave to give it to me. So I gave my tithe, which all but emptied my saving account.
The following Monday, the week of Thanksgiving, Aaron and I were raking up leaves, when Aaron found a ten dollar bill in the pile. Suddenly we were meticulously scanning the leaves to see if there were any other surprises waiting for us. We were joking around, questioning the old axiom that “money doesn’t grow on trees”, when on top of the pile I found a twenty dollar bill. I picked it up, again thinking “Wait, I don’t understand.”
I wondered if I should put it back, because surely someone was missing this money. Then I thought “Denny’s for Lunch!” The more I thought about it, the clearer it was that this was God way of saying “I’ve got you, Andrew. I’ll take care of you.”
I still don’t fully understand. Winter is coming up, which means I won't be getting a ton of work for a couple months. I have no idea when I’ll finally pay off the building commitment; I imagine God has something else exciting planned for that one. But in the end, I’m sure God will get me through. That’s what He’s done so far.