November 7, 2017

I was walking across the parking lot of the local grocery market the other day. It wasn’t particularly busy, but there were a handful other people moving about the lot, pushing carts into the return stalls, loading paper bags into the back of their midsize SUVs, or (like me) reviewing their shopping list as they walked briskly toward the automatic doors at the front of the store.

Just a few feet from the entrance, where the black top turned to concrete, I noticed a glossy copper penny resting on the ground. I couldn’t tell you if it was heads up, new, or dirty, because I didn’t bother to pick it up. I stepped past it, pulled out a small shopping cart, and walked toward the blue hydrangea bouquets in the floral department—the first item on my list.

I must not have been the only person unmoved by the “free” currency on the ground because the coin remained exactly where it was while I shopped. Still, no one had picked it up as I left the store. After all, it was only a penny—and what good could that do anyone?

I was reminded about the way money influences our decisions. I thought about how it can leverage our lives—dominating plans, mindshare, and priorities for the good or for the worse. I thought about a decision I made earlier this year, one that took much less forethought than I would have expected yet has blessed my life in immeasurable ways. Several months ago, I decided to tithe.

I had been giving money to the church and other organizations regularly. I had freely donated time and resources to causes all over the metro and focused a lot of my giving to the ministry of the church. But if I got honest, I wasn’t giving sacrificially; I was only giving what felt comfortable. In a moment on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday afternoon, I felt compelled to change that. So, without having worked out a new budget, or deciding exactly what I would need to sacrifice, I enrolled in an automatic donation that my bank account would feel in a real way. Scary and comforting, I knew this was something God was calling me to do. I believe it’s something God calls all of us to do in one way or another.

Since then, I have adjusted my budget. I have had to give some things up, like a couple of vacations, salon appointments, and cable TV, but I have also found that allowing room for God’s provision has blessed me financially and spiritually. Be it a penny from the parking lot, or giving back some of the blessings God has given you, giving sacrificially opens a door for God to provide and for you to be blessed by blessing others, and it’s something you won’t regret. I still have room to grow in this department, and I am looking forward to finding new ways to give back to my church, to my community, and to my God.

Beth Armstrong, Director of Adult Discipleship