This is sacrifice?

My husband, Lee, and I were silent—each deep in our own thoughts. We’d been discussing the Week of Sacrifice Offering. We really wanted to give sacrificially. We’d been thinking and praying about it for several weeks. Lee made $800 per week. We had four children in church school and academy. We had to pinch pennies to make ends meet. I had tried selling encyclopedias that year, but I disliked door-to-door sales, and I had finally stopped trying.

I felt strongly impressed that we should give a full week’s salary. But I hesitated to suggest it.

Lee broke the silence, “I think we should give one week’s salary!” We both felt that this was God’s leading.

When we turned in the money the following Sabbath, we experienced a mixture of apprehension and excitement. This was the first time we’d ever stepped this far out in faith.

On Sunday morning we attended a county auction with my parents. As we settled onto the hard wooden benches and looked around, we wondered what we’d gotten into. The building looked like it was constructed from scrap wood. The auctioneer was disheveled, and cigarette smoke filled the air. But we soon forgot the discomfort and crude surroundings. The auctioneer kept the people laughing, and excitement rose as he urged the crowd to bid higher prices.

Suddenly Lee poked me in the ribs and said, “Look! That’s exactly what we’ve been needing.” They were just bringing in a new 80-gallon hot-water tank. Before long we bought the water heater at a much reduced price. Soon we made other purchases, and by the time we left, we had to make arrangements for someone to deliver our things. As we added up what we’d gotten we knew that we had saved more than $500.

The next night I received a phone call, asking me if I sold encyclopedias. I set up an appointment, and the following evening took a large order that qualified me to receive a free set of encyclopedias and dictionaries for our family and a self-teaching learning center for our children. After I returned home, Lee and I talked about how God had provided much more than the $800 that we’d given three days before—not in money, but in goods.

A few weeks later Lee called and asked me to meet him at a restaurant after work. When I arrived, he smilingly handed me three envelopes. His company at times gave employees special awards for specific work well done. The first envelope contained an award check for $100. The second had a check for more than $300. My hands trembled as I opened the third envelope. Out fell a check for $800. Lee’s manager had commented that he’d never heard of anyone receiving three employee awards in one day. But we knew why it had happened.

“Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine” (Proverbs 3:9, 10).

By Blanche Yates

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