Tonight we enjoyed 2 glorious Christmas Eve services. My husband outdid himself with the organization and the preaching, the music was so well done and we had a ton of visitors in attendance. The weather cooperated for those who had to travel into town to come to church. What a special evening once again for Christmas.
I had a rather joyful encounter with God myself this evening. At the first church's service it wasn't until the offering plates were on their way down the aisle that I remembered I hadn't prepared our tithe from pay day earlier this week. I quickly wrote out a cheque for that church and scribbled out a cheque for the next church's service as well. After a mad scramble to get the first cheque written out in time to actually put it into the plate as it came by, I realized I had written each cheque out for double the usual monthly amount....aack!! Not that I mind giving the extra money, because I enjoy giving away money more than just about anything else in life....BUT we have some horrendous extra expenses coming up over the next couple of months and my heart began sinking into my stomach wondering if my blunder was going to create problems in a few weeks time. O well, it was too late by then so I decided getting through the next month was going to have to be God's problem to solve. it all belongs to him anyway so........
After the second church service ended and we got the church locked up and dragged our exhausted selves back to the rectory, we decided to relax by opening up the Christmas cards we received from so many folk tonight. By the time we had opened 3 cards the gifts enclosed totalled more than the amount of the 2 cheques I wrote earlier in the evening. I realized that my faith in God to take care of us despite my error had been far too thin. After all we have been through and the number of times we have seen God provide for us literally out of thin air, you could assume my faith in his provision no longer wavers, but you would be wrong.
The kicker came when we opened the final envelope and found a gift that was 10 times the amount of what I had put into the 2 offering plates at the services. Our parish council decided to give us a big bonus boost this year and we cannot help but assume they too were giving in faith that God would make up that shortfall from their budget. O me of little faith. O parish council of great big faith!!
Turned out I was actually tithing tonight on a gift we had not yet received and did not know was coming, but God knew. Events like this have been taking place for the last 25 years of our lives in ministy and yet I still wondered if I had made a huge mistake by giving beyond what, until a couple of hours ago, we were able to give.
I am wondering if God is reminding me of what he has done and will continue to do to care for us because there is another financial test up the road. If there is I can only pray I will not be short sighted enough to experience any more doubts in God's consistent provision in our lives.