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A feast from a stone-cold potato

By Jane Clamp | 18 July 2018 | Comments (7)

I know someone who frequently says, ‘Oh, if only I could win the Lottery, then I would give it all away!’ For the record, I know for a fact that this person doesn’t even buy a ticket, so the generous sentiment will never be put to the test. But the thinking is common enough: With half a million, think of the good we could do! The projects we could fund! The mouths we could feed! We assume that, if we are to be generous, we need a full pot to be generous from. It makes sense, doesn’t it? We can’t give away what we don’t have. And yet, with no reference to the amount in our bank accounts or under our mattresses, God calls us to be generous. Just read how Paul congratulates the Macedonians for their offerings in 2 Corinthians 8.

For much of my early adult life, I wasn’t exactly awash with financial resources. I had only just enough for my family’s needs, never mind the wider needs of my community. My prayers were all about the money stretching far enough – any thoughts of having some left over to give away were idle ones. During this lean season of provision, I had a good friend who was pregnant with twins. Her husband worked in a local factory, and money was tight. One day, over coffee, I found out that for the previous two nights their main meal had consisted of cornflakes. I worried for them and the health of their unborn babies and offered to buy her some shopping. It was an obvious but impulsive gesture, and one I subsequently worried about fulfilling.

It so happened that the week before, I discovered that one of the potatoes I’d bought from the local greengrocer had been no more than a large stone underneath all its mud! So, on the day I was going to buy food for my friend, the first thing I had to do was show the stone to the till assistant. She was as shocked as I’d been and said she’d ‘sort it out’ when I’d finished choosing my shopping. I went up and down the aisles, picking items I thought my friend could do with – trying not to look at the price labels – plus a few things we needed ourselves. The trolley was pretty laden by the time I returned to the sales assistant and she helped me load up the carrier bags. I reached into my purse to pay, only to be told to put it away. ‘All of this is free,’ she explained, ‘because of our mistake with the potato.’

I pretty much floated to the car, anchored to the ground only by the weight of the bags, in awe of God. When I’d come up with my hair-brained scheme to buy two loads of shopping from a budget that barely covered one, I had no idea that God would be footing the bill. I wanted to be generous to my friend on few resources, and God made it possible.

I still marvel over events like this, when God calls us to be sacrificial and then steps into provide the sacrifice himself. I should have learned long before now, I suppose, that when he provided a ram to take the place of Isaac on the altar, it wasn’t a one-time deal but a principle. When he says, ‘I’m the Lord who provides,’ he means it. We don’t need flights of fancy about lottery wins, but a simple step of faith with our hand firmly in his.


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comments:

Christine

July 25, 2018 5:15 PM
Wow, Jane, what an amazing story of God

Christine

July 25, 2018 5:17 PM
Wow, Jane, what an amazing story of God

Mark Cook

July 26, 2018 7:06 AM
What a great story! There must be many more out there. As we each try to step towards being less self-focussed, God meets us, doesn't he. Thank you

Lorraine H

July 26, 2018 1:08 PM
Thank you for this blog. I'm currently going through difficult times myself at the moment. Yet God has unexpectedly provided for me in such a way that it has shocked me. At the moment I am waiting for the funds to come to me, not sure how long, but God has knows and in Peter it says to cast all of our cares upon him. It's lovely to read such an encouraging word from you.

Audrey Couper

July 26, 2018 3:42 PM
Thank you so much for this encouraging testimony. Very challenging.

Alice Sullivan

August 15, 2018 9:23 PM
thank you thank you. God I was meant to read this tonight! I mostly haven't been able to eat this month as the children are home from school and hungry. their refrain is "beans again?!" but I am so so grateful even for those beans as someone (anonymous but possibly someone in life group) referred us for a hope hamper.

Alice Sullivan

August 15, 2018 9:23 PM
thank you God I was meant to read this tonight! I mostly haven't been able to eat this month as the children are home from school and hungry. their refrain is "beans again?!" but I am so grateful even for those beans as someone (anonymous but possibly someone in life group) referred us for a hope hamper.

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