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God's Math: A Textbook Case
By Christine Ewing
It has been a very exciting time to be a member of the Traverse City Seventh-day Adventist Church. For more than a year we have been raising funds for a building program to erect a new church that can accommodate our growing community. We have been amazed to watch the Lord work in magnificent ways to turn our meager efforts into milestones.
Throughout this process I had been questioning my part in this divine adventure. How could I, a struggling college student, help? In December 1999 we had our Covenant of the Heart Sabbath to lay our faith on the table, so to speak. Knowing that I would be going off to school soon, I made a pledge of $360. A dollar a day wasn’t much but I wanted to give back to my Lord who has brought me so far.
Soon however, I learned that the pledge wasn’t for a year; it was needed in four months. If the ground breaking was going to take place in the spring, the money had to be in by April. Prior to that special Sabbath of committing ourselves, as a church, to God’s work in Traverse City, I had made a personal commitment of $140 to the building fund. I now had a $500 commitment and felt unsure of how it would be fulfilled in just a little over a month before I headed back to school. I prayed that the Lord would help me to keep my pledge. I had made it with a sincere passion for the work going on in Traverse City.
After my bills were paid I set aside everything I earned for the building fund. When it was time to leave for college I was excited to have fulfilled my pledge and even have $20 in my pocket. My delight soon turned to consternation. I had forgotten about buying my college textbooks. Where was I going to get the money? I prayed again, asking God to help me to get the books I needed. I knew that it was up to God.
The morning came to leave for college. The car was packed and my mother and I were just about to walk out the door when the phone rang. It was my uncle asking if we had time before we left town to stop by his house. When we arrived I found that my aunt and uncle had prepared a “boodle box” for me, full of food and other things that become luxuries to a college student. We visited for only a short time and as I was putting on my coat to leave, my uncle handed me an envelope. He said, “This is just a little something to help you out. I know sometimes it would be nice to buy a pizza or do something fund.” I took the envelope and hugged them both with gratitude.
As my mother and I drove out of town I looked at the envelope lying on my lap. I felt full of the love with which it had been given me. I turned it over and opened it up. Inside were five one hundred-dollar bills. My eyes filled with tears as my heart filled with the love of my Heavenly Father who had, through my aunt and uncle, given back everything I had given in faith to Him. But He gave me much more than money. He gave me a real, experiential demonstration of His unfailing love and concern for me. He had been working out a plan for me before I even knew I had a need. On April 2, 2000 the ground-breaking ceremony for our new church was held. I am thankful for this personal illustration that I will always remember, a time when I was poignantly reminded of Who is in charge of my life and to Whom my money truly belongs.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38, NIV.