I just met them earlier this year.
A few months after we were first introduced, we were having dinner at the house of some mutual friends when we started discussing what it looks like for each of us personally to live by faith.
Earlier that same day, I had a technician come to my house to give me a quote on what it would cost to install an air conditioner in the Upper Room of my house (which serves as my living room). The quote (700-900 euro, including installation costs) had been much higher than I was anticipating. It helped to know I needed the air conditioner. It wasn’t just something frivolous but a practical need because otherwise, the room would be completely useless from late June to sometime in October when the weather finally starts to cool down. Even still, spending so much on an AC unit would be a big stretch for both my faith and my budget.
Come to think of it, I think most every major purchase I have made in my life has been an act of faith. Whether we are contemplating buying a car, a house, a couch, an expensive camera, a vacation or even our education, aren’t all these really just different forms of investments?
Investments by nature come with some degree of calculated risk, right?
Come to think of it, investing sounds a lot like faith.
Living by faith rather than by sight always involves an element of risk because it involves unknown factors, factors we can’t see or touch but we know are there, somewhere…
…but I digress.
Back to the story!
The high estimate was still fresh on my mind while we were discussing ways each of us were exercising faith in our daily lives.
In our discussion on faith, I mentioned my need to buy an AC unit and what the estimate had been that I had received earlier that day. I also mentioned the dilemma again later that same evening when we were sharing some things we wanted prayer for.
A short time later, I ran into these same new friends. Just before we parted, they slipped me an envelope and explained:
“This is just between us. When we heard about your need for an AC unit, we prayed about it and felt the Lord clearly telling us we need to give you this.”
I didn’t open the envelope until just after I got home.
It was filled with euro bills.
I started counting:
“Fifty, one hundred… two hundred, three hundred, four hundred….”
I didn’t bother finishing counting.
I knew how much would be inside:
…exactly what I needed.
And sure enough, it was… and to the dime.
If you’ve read many of my other ripe banana stories, I imagine it may not surprise you to know that what was in the envelope was in fact exactly what the AC unit cost with parts and installation included. For me, this was a great reminder Jesus already knows what lies ahead. He knew how much it would cost and put that amount in the minds and hearts of my new friends. It is such a comfort to know God knows the future. He knows what we need today and not only that, but what we will need tomorrow, next month and next year. Our needs never come as a surprise to Him.
Another thing I love about this story is how the Lord used my friends to be the ones through whom He provided. I love how Jesus invites us into what He is doing in the lives of others. When we obey His promptings and give to others with cheerful hearts out of the abundance He has given us, He will be sure to pay us back in full and then some! We may not always receive back from Him in the same currency we gave but He is always faithful to bless those who are joyfully generous towards others. For this reason, I am thrilled for the friends who gave me the money for the AC unit knowing the Lord will, in His perfect timing, repay them for their willing obedience, their trust in His guidance and their joyful generosity.
Why should I pass it off to the Lord to pay them back? First off, it was a gift and a true gift comes with no strings attached… just like true grace. You can’t pay grace back otherwise it wouldn’t be grace. Secondly, it was the Lord’s house after all that the AC unit was for. This house isn’t mine nor does it belong to my landlord (though he may not agree with me!). This house belongs to the Lord, just like everything else in this universe He created. While I’m the thankful recipient/steward of the house and AC unit, the monkey-in-the-middle if you will, He is the Master of the house and it is therefore, from His account that my friends will be repaid. And all the better for them since He has unlimited and eternal riches! He is overwhelmingly generous, especially towards those who give generously to others and to Him above all.
Here’s to practicing joyful generosity towards others and having absolute confidence God knows our needs even better than we do! He is more than able to provide for all our needs and will do so faithfully for all who trust in Him.
Has your faith ever been tested by a big purchase or investment you needed to make?
When have you seen Him provide for your needs through others?
What is the Lord up to in someone else’s life or ministry that He may be asking me to get involved in?
What might He be asking me to give away?
How have you experienced His generous repayment to you when you gave generously to Him and to others?