Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Living Generously-Barbara Phinney's perspective

Years ago, a man new to our church said to me, "By not giving generously, a person misses out on God's blessings."
I mulled over his comment for years and now that we are doing generous living devotional at our church, I'm beginning to see that what this man said was so true. 

It started after Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast United States. I want to do something to help. All I could think of at the time was to lower my romantic comedy, All For A Good Cause, to the lowest price Amazon would allow, in an effort to cheer up a few of those people with this fun story about charities that get out of hand.
(Yes, you may roll your eyes. I did. Such an effort was hardly sacrificial.)
Then, this week past, my church sent out an e-mail saying that a woman in nearby town has made the proper arrangements to send supplies down to New York and New Jersey. This was my chance to be really sacrificial.
Let me back up for a moment. Last week, our bank gave us a yearly review of our accounts to see if they could save us some money. It turned out that they couldn't save us anything, just update our account. Oh well. C'est la vie.
So, back to the present, last Friday, my husband and I settled on an amount we would spend, about $125, to buy toiletries, baby supplies, winter boots, and such to contribute to the supplies going to the United States.
And might I add, that I get a little pleasure out of this, too. I get to shop! Of course it was limited by my husband's limited patience, but I still had fun!
After we got home, it was like Christmas for me, sorting through the presents, packing them up, putting them in boxes and laundry baskets to take to our church.

I also decided to pray that the Lord would help me not look for a blessing, not to expect one, but to give this simply because I wanted to be obedient.
After I was finished, I returned to my writing, knowing that I should not check the sales of my independently published books because I had specifically asked for no blessing.
The phone rang. It was our bank. The woman who had given us our banking review apologized for giving us incorrect information. The account we just switched to offered a signing bonus of 15,000 points, equivalent to $125 in cash! 
The blessing had come from the least likely place and taught me a valuable lesson. Don't go looking for blessings, don't ask for them, just give generously, and know that your Father will give back to you, in His own way, thanking you for taking the first step.

Has God surprised you lately? What blessings did you receive that you can encourage us with today?


  1. mum always lived by that sentiment. I remember once her giving her last dollars to help a young man who was a new christian and was paying back places he stole from. Mum felt led to give him something and gave him her last $10. In the mail came a check from and unexpected source and was more than what she had given. This happened several times.

    For myself I was planning to give a donation to Samaritans purse (operation christmas child) as this year I didn't have a chance to get my boxes in on time but then on Saturday I broke an axel on my bike requiring a new back wheel. Someone had sent me a check for something I did for them but didn't expect payment for. I was able to pay for the bike with the check and still give the donation, with out the check I wouldn't have been able to give the donation I intended to give.

  2. Barbara, love this post. I have had many times when God uses me as a middle-woman to bless someone else.Usually when I haven't even thought of it.

    Jenny, what a testimony about your mother!

    Have clicked and downloaded. Yes, it is that time of year.

    Peace, Julie

  3. Jenny, what a wonderful story! Thank you!
    Julie, thank you so much for stopping by, too! I am on my way out the door in a few minutes to take the stuff to the church. But a moment ago, my neighbour and sister-in-law came out to say that God has laid it on her heart to give up a beautiful bedding set and coat, and we then prayed that it get into the right hands.
    It's especially poignant because I too am including a coat that I love in this bundle.
    Generosity is so important, isn't it, and we need to practice it constantly.

  4. What wonderful stories Barbara and Jenny! You've both brightened my day!

  5. Thank you Missy and Eva Marie. It's always fun to share good uplifting stories.

  6. Thank you for posting this. The reminder to live generously without expectation is a good one. Our God is so good.

  7. Thank you for posting this. The reminder to live generously without expectation is a good one. Our God is so good.