The Dollar General store is just down the road from our neighborhood. I love DG because I can buy the same products there for much less. Granted, the choices are limited, but for some items, like body wash, who cares?
A few weeks ago, I strolled into the Dollar General for the third time that week. You guessed it: more body wash. After I found one I liked, I headed for the register. As the gentleman in front of me fumbled for his wallet, a little voice inside me said, “Pay his bill.”
And I argued. “Lord, I need to make sure we have enough for our needs this week.” I watched as the cashier finished bagging the man’s groceries.
“Seventeen dollars and thirty-three cents.” The man awkwardly continued his search.
“Pay his bill.”
“Look, Lord,” I argued. “I’m not sure how much I can actually spend today. I’m being very careful. You know, responsible.”
Groceries bagged. Cashier waits. Man looks forlorn. I feel sorry for him. Again, I hear, “Pay his bill.”
“Nope, not today, Lord.” He quickly apologizes and leaves. I think we’ve all been there before.
A few minutes later, with my purchase in hand, I walked out of the store, still justifying my response. But it didn’t work. As I turned at the intersection I submitted in repentance. “I don’t want to be at odds with You, Lord. Show me my heart then show me Yours…”
As I pulled into our driveway, the previous several weeks flashed through the movie screen in my mind. And I heard these words: “When have I not provided for you? I provided labor costs on your deck. You asked me for $2,000, and I gave you above and beyond. I provide food and gas. If you can trust Me to provide for you, then why would you not give Me seventeen dollars?”
Heart shattered. Not only did I not reach out to someone in need, I said “no” to the One who constantly provides our needs. I saw my greedy, self-centered heart. Even my reasons for “being frugal” sounded hollow and self-serving.
Often what He gives us is meant to be given away. God’s gift is joy, and joy comes from sharing what He has given. All of it is His, not ours. Oh, how I wished I would have paid for that man’s groceries! Not so I wouldn’t feel guilty, but so I wouldn’t have missed the blessing of obedience.
“Lord, I am so sorry. Please give me another chance to be a blessing to someone else!”
About a week later, back for yet another bottle of body wash. Maybe I’ll buy three. That’ll save me at least two more trips this week. Just then a lady’s voice behind me interrupted my thoughts. I looked up to the see a disheveled older lady with a bottle of generic cola in one hand.
“Excuse me. Do you know a church around here that might help me out with a little money? I need to buy some bread.”
“Pay for all her groceries,” I heard the Holy Spirit say.
Wasting no time, I headed to the front for a cart.
That day, I walked out of the store with my soap, renewed faith, and the joy of obedience.
“Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. As the Scriptures say, “Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.””
2 Corinthians 8:14-15 NLT