Much of my adult life I have been on the low-income side of the financial spectrum, being single with non-skilled work. Almost ten years ago now I obtained my CNA certification and began to work in a low-paid but skilled trade in healthcare, and three years ago became a Registered Nurse. I am also married and we are a two-income family. Financially we are not “rich” compared to Western-World standards (although compared to many places in the world we are the 1%), but my wife and I do fairly well for ourselves.
Recently we had our friend Angie visit who used to live in Portland and who we would spend time with regularly. She has been living out of state and is headed to South Africa with the Peace Corps for just over 2 years. While visiting, we took her shopping for some good shoes and other things she would need on her trip that she hadn’t obtained yet. We went to a few different shoe stores and none of them had what she was looking for, so we stopped by the Shoe Mill, one of our favorite places to buy shoes due to the quality of the products that company sells.
Within about twenty minutes my friend Angie had found the shoes she wanted, and she decided to buy two pair, although we would have to pick up the second pair the next day. At checkout the price was just over $200. I asked “Is this for both pair or just one?” It was for one pair. Angie’s face visibly fell when the clerk said this, and I was feeling similarly inside. That’s a LOT of money for two pair of shoes, and what Angie didn’t say to me but I already knew was that she was out of work until she started working with the Corps a few weeks later.
I wordlessly pulled out my wallet, playfully nudged her aside, and swiped my credit card before she had much chance to complain. Friends are like that. She was appreciative, but that’s not why I am sharing this. I have usually been the person in the position to need the help and be grateful when someone decided to step in and pay the bill. I will say that while I have always appreciated the help, it’s an awkward position to be in–feeling like you either can’t pay something or that you can pay it, but it will be a significant financial strain to do so. Angie could have paid for the shoes, but it certainly would have made things more difficult for her in the in-between time she was in.
After buying them, I had a moment where I realized just how blessed I am. I have a good paying job, have most of my financial needs met, and am not generally stressed about money as a result. Instead of being in a position of lack, I was finally able to bless a friend whom I love from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t help but remember the verse in the New Testament where Paul talked about this. “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness” 2 Corinthians 8:13-14. This feeling was what I felt Paul must have been referring to–that we all have times of lack and times of plenty, and that in our times of plenty it is important to supply the needs of those who lack because we all have times of lack. When we as the Body of Christ step out and become the solution to the problems we see, our abundance supplies someone else’s need, and in a very unfair world we create just a little more fairness. I really hope I am able to get used to giving more to others than they give to me, not out of pride, but because I really like to show people love in practical ways like I mentioned above, and I pray that if you have never experienced something like that before, or if it’s been a long time, that God blesses you with abundance from heaven so that you have far more than you need and can be Heaven’s hand of supply in a time of need, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings to you!