It was no co-incidence that our friends showed up that night. I am convinced it was a God-incidence.
The chicken story has a back-story that I should begin with to set the stage properly. A few months prior to the chicken event I had returned to the Church after 10 years as a C&E Catholic, (a barely Christmas and Easter only Catholic).
It was a year into recovering from the loss of my business, which had forced me into personal bankruptcy, when this ‘prodigal son’ decided to give God another chance. My faith was not on solid ground yet, however, praise God, my wife’s certainly was. She never gave up praying for my conversion.
After the loss of my business I took a job as a door-to-door salesman. That lasted about nine months. Then I took a job selling life insurance. Both were not reliable sources of a stable income, and we had two young children to feed!
I was stressing out over paying the bills and keeping food on the table. Lynn knew I was worried and she knew what to do…she always prayed for me.
I was out late one night meeting with a life insurance prospect. I came home that night without a sale…nothing unusual about that! It was unusual however to walk into the living room that night and see a bible open on the floor in front of the television. I thought, “That’s odd”. Then I said to myself…
“No, that’s my little prayer warrior trying to tell me something. I’d better pick it up and check it out because she’s for sure going to ask me about it in the morning”.
I am so glad I took the time to read what she had selected – Matthew 6:25-33.
I tell you not to worry about your life. Don’t worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food or clothing?…
…But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.
Everything changed for me that night!
The pastor at our church at the time had been teaching us about stewardship. Jesus telling us not to worry in his sermon on the mount made stewardship crystal clear to me. If we need not worry because God will provide for our needs, then it stands to reason that everything that we have in our lives actually comes from God. I really don’t own anything. It’s all been given to me by our good and gracious God.
“What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?”
1 Corinthians 4:7
Something else in particular struck me that night. It was verse 33 about putting God first and doing what He wants you to do that really got my attention. I thought, wow, I really have not been putting God first and still he was taking care of us. The last few years had been difficult and we were still going through some very tough times, but we always got through it.
Now to the ‘Chicken Story’!
Not long after the Matthew 6 eye-opener we were sitting at the kitchen table one evening having dinner and Lynn looked quite concerned. I asked what was wrong and she asked when my next pay day would be. I had to tell her that I hadn’t sold any insurance policies for weeks and did not expect to be paid any time soon. Lynn then rather emotionally declared,
“That’s not good, because the kitchen cupboards and fridge are empty and so is our bank account!”
To which I replied, (not thinking it through), “Why don’t you practice what you preach! Remember Matthew 6, ‘do not worry’!”
That did not go over well at all. The truth was that we were indeed in a tough spot with no solution in sight any time soon.
Still, I suggested we pray and trust God.
So, we prayed that night after we finished supper and… moments later there was a knock at our back door. It was some friends we had recently met through my life insurance job. They were a beautiful couple, farmers, and Pentecostal Christians with a joy filled faith. We asked them to come in and they carried in with them two large cardboard boxes. They placed the boxes on the kitchen table and said, “We felt like you guys could use this.”
It was no co-incidence that our friends showed up that night. I am convinced it was a God-incidence. I believe it was a fruit of a decision we had made earlier that year. We had taken a leap of faith and committed to giving $5 a week consistently to our church as a way to say thank you to God. I know, five bucks isn’t much, but is was to us back then! Our giving practice at church had previously been to give whatever change was in my pocket. That was all we could afford, or so I thought. We began to give every week with a consistent sentiment, “Thank you God, you got us through another week!” We still give, and certainly more now as God has enabled us to; and to other charities as well. We give not because the church or other charities need it; stewardship is not about giving to need, it is about needing to give, because it’s one way we can express our gratitude to God.
“Stewardship is the right thing to do. Its rewards can’t be kept out!” Bishop Eugene John Gerber (1931 – 2018)Tweet