Last weekend we went on a retreat with our ministry partners, The Smiths. This was a time of rest, but more importantly, it was a time of connecting. With a house typically full of six children when we all get together, we had to make it a priority to get away and get to know one another. Our hearts needed it. Our sanity needed it. Our relationship needed it.
The weekend went better than we even hoped. We found ourselves deep in conversations from 9am to 1am with few breaks in between. Our friendship grew as we hashed out ideas and shared feelings and spoke of fears.
Sunday morning we headed to a nearby church that none of us had ever been to. As we walked in, the pastor was the first person to introduce himself to us. We exchanged short greetings and after he asked what brought us their way, we shared a little about the ministry and the reason we were on the retreat. During the service he had us stand to be recognized and, unexpectedly, asked us to stand at the doors after service so folks could meet us.
After a lull in the greetings, a lady walked up to me and grabbed my hand. She leaned in closely and spoke softly with tears in her eyes…
“The Lord told me to give you something and this is all I have to give. Do with it however you need to.”
She moved to Nancy as I clutched the small object she placed in my hand. Someone had come up behind her and I quickly placed the gift in my pocket without looking, in order to greet the next smiling face.
When all was cleared out I reached in my pocket. I pulled out the most beautiful sapphire and diamond ring I had ever seen. My eyes met Nancy’s as she saw her gift for the first time, too–a gorgeous matching necklace.
I am so undeserving of this mysterious gift. I didn’t get a chance to speak to this kind woman at any length. I didn’t get to tell her what her gift meant to me. I didn’t get a chance to talk her out of giving me her precious jewelry.
Because I didn’t get to talk to her, I have really reflected on this gift. I wondered if I would be able to do the same. If The Lord told me to give my lovely ring to a missionary I had never met, would I do it? Would I be so sure of The Master’s voice that I would give willingly of my prized possession? Am I unselfish enough that I would give the thought a chance? And even worse, would I hear the voice but not follow through with the command?
I don’t understand why God whispered in this woman’s heart to give up something so beautiful, but I do know that He is teaching me something through her gift.
When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded to listen to my Savior’s voice.
When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded to obediently and sacrificially give anything He asks.
When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I have a Heavenly Father that provides my every need and every desire.
When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I serve a Mighty God that gives unexpected gifts through strangers.
When I see the ring on my finger I will be reminded that I have a Good Good God who loves me intimately.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
Learning and growing,