Sometimes the greatest experiences of giving come from receiving. I have been taught a lot by those who give to the Catch. Last night we received a generous unexpected check from someone who had already recently sent us an extra gift on top of their monthly pledge. I saw the return address on an envelope that was obviously another check, and I wondered if maybe they had made a mistake and had forgotten about their earlier gift. When I opened it, I found the check with this note attached: “Just a little more help.”
Just a little more help. It kind of exploded in my heart. This was more than the other checks combined. This is help I didn’t ask for, and why it was so wonderful to receive. This is the expression of someone who gives graciously. Giving graciously means giving without any strings attached.
Money can be used for all sorts of reasons. It can be used to obligate someone, or to pay one’s way into a relationship. Money can be used as a club, or a measuring stick, or a race to see who wins. It is very hard to free money up from its reasons, but I believe this is the way God wants us to give. Give freely without strings. Give freely without expectations or assumptions or attachments or hoping for anything in return.
This has nothing to do with how much money you have or don’t have; it has to do with how the money is attached to you. You may have a lot of money or a little, doesn’t matter either way, money can have a tight grip on someone’s heart. We need to learn to free up our grasp on money as well as its grasp on us.
The couple that sent me “a little more help” has obviously freed up their grasp of money as well as its grasp on them. They sent this without any strings and appeared to revel in the joy of surprise.
This couple has been in our lives for a long time. He was an elder in the church where I was trained for the ministry. And as I thought about him and his gracious wife, I remembered an earlier experience I had with him around money.
Years ago, I borrowed money from this man and signed a note, intending to pay it back. I had trouble doing so. The sum was too big. It got to be an issue and I avoided it and then forgot about it. This was very bad behavior that isolated me from him and the relationship. Then one day, out of nowhere, I received a letter from him. It was the promissory note I had signed with “PAID IN FULL,” written over it. Totally undeserving. Total surprise. Totally grace.
Almost doesn’t seem right, does it? I should have been forced to pay. I should have been taught a lesson. Instead, I received grace. This is just what the grace of God is like.