Giving, and A Lesson On Grace

Hello 34 DGZ family! So much has been going on with us here on the Garden Route. The kids are preparing for their final week of final exams, Marshall just returned from ministering in Malawi (his absence was an eye opener for us all) and I’m trying to get my new locktician to stop cutting my hair at the roots because my lines are not “ayoba”. I don’t know what that means, but I gather he is displeased with my grid pattern. I had brain surgery. I’m just grateful to have hair, ayoba or not.

This has been an interesting season in the Grant family’s life, because we are experiencing a stretching of faith. Coming from our ministry in Atlanta, this may not seem like a big deal. Almost every family at the Father’s House has had to live by faith for one period or another, but Marshall and I have always been cautious spenders (him more than me) and so the bulk of our needs have been met through the efforts of the sweat of our brow and the Lord’s keeping the palmerworm from devastating our harvest. I’ll talk more about the stretching of our faith in the next post. Today I want to speak about a revelation that left me humbled.

Marshall is a big giver, and I have not always agreed with how and/or how much he’s sowed into a person or a project. Oftentimes, I didn’t consider them ‘worthy’ investments. Still, I’ve tried to keep my grumbling to a minimum and over the years I’ve responded to his giving in the same way one would witnessing a duck swim across a pond in autumn: with nonchalance. A duck in water is natural, after all. There’s nothing remarkable about a waterfowl in that environment. You watch it do what it does and then you go on your way. But in time, a strange thing begins to happen; those ducky habits begin to rub off on you. Recently, I’ve found myself cultivating a habit of giving.

“Nothing bad can ever come from giving,” I cheerily exclaimed as I gave away a chocolate ganache cake to a total stranger. Now it was Marshall’s turn to give skeptical stares.

A day or so after I gave away the item, a woman at a local business handed me some merchandise I’d been looking for, free of charge. That’s the way giving works, right? You give and it shall be given unto you. Being in a position to give can sometimes seduce us into believing that we are also ‘worthy’ of being in a position to receive. Usually, I’d say that’s a sound interpretation of scripture. God showed me otherwise in the most unlikely of places: At the gas station.

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As I had opened myself up to this new habit and season of giving, I’ve found myself more attuned to the unction of the Spirit. (I am not yet comfortable with declaring that I’ve ever heard The Voice of the Lord.) On Wednesday, I felt a nudge to give the attendant a R100 tip (around $8). We have a policy that we don’t give out tips for pumping gas. Pumping gas is the bare minimum. You need to wash our windows, check our tire pressure or SOMETHING to get a tip, and even then, it’s going to be R10. But the Spirit urged me to give R100 that morning, so I said, “Okay”.

I watched the attendant – a young man I had never seen before – go about his duties. He casually pumped the gas. He never reached for the window washing equipment. At one point, he left the pump idle and disappeared for what felt like an eternity. He was NOT the best gas attendant at the Shell station. In fact, he may be the very worst that has ever waited on me since I’ve been in the country.

When he finally did return to take my card for payment, he swiped it, handed it back to me, and wordlessly prepared to move on to some other task (or back to his breakfast).

“Wait!” I said. “Here.”

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I gave him the R100 note. He took it, looked at it and then looked at me with a look that was a mixture of awe and confusion, as though he was sure I had made a mistake. He thanked me, and I wasn’t inspired to say anything else to him beyond, “You’re welcome”; so I drove off. Behind me I heard his raised voice repeat, “Thank you, Mama!”

God’s unique humor hit me in that moment, and I had to laugh. I could almost hear heave say, “You see? Even when you absolutely suck at your job (i.e. your Christian walk), at least you have the sense to show up. At least you’re in a position to receive. I can reward you for showing up because it’s MY pleasure to do so, not because you’ve earned it or because you’re worthy.”

The truth, as we know, is that there is none worthy but Christ…and that’s part of the essence of the grace the Father extends to us.

For that, I am grateful.

 

 

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