What Is Worse Than a Paycut?

One week Karen Mains came home disappointed. She had gladly spoken without receiving an honorarium for a friend who is the chaplain at a retirement center. "Oh, we'll set up a book table," her friend said thinking to compensate her in some way. So Karen hauled books for the book table. She enjoyed the women, had a great conversation, and sold four books-a total of $70.

"That's not bad," said her husband.

"He was right, of course," Karen agreed. "$70 is $70, but I had been hoping to make several hundred dollars so I could share half of it with a young friend whose husband had been laid off work."

"And what's to keep you from sharing what you have anyway?" prodded that inner voice early the next morning.

She had learned that bank balances, even small ones, are at hazard in prayer times. So she took the $70, added $30 from her checking account and mailed a $100 check to her younger friend "for gas or for milk for the children."

The very next day, a colleague dropped by to pick up three other books and left a check of $25, and someone else picked up more books for $70. And she heard that inner word again: "So, could you not trust me to replace $100?"

In her 37 years of prayer journals she has recorded the amounts she has needed and the amounts He has provided. Her conclusion? "He takes care of us. He provides for what we need and for what we need to give to others in need. His nudges toward acts of mercy are not conditional-based on how much or how little we have-they are based on His expectations and our obedience."

Karen concludes, "The worst thing that can happen to any of us in financial distress is that we cease to be charitable, generous people. (You thought the worst thing was receiving a pay cut.) No, no, it is that we will become miserly."

Thank You, Jesus, that it is in the giving we receive, not in the hoarding."

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me" (Psalm 54:4).