When Randy Watts asked us to write down a number on our three by five card way back at the start of our destined for joy campaign, I plucked a number out of what seemed like thin air that felt pretty outrageous at the time. It was a big number for me, but as I prayed about it, I felt the Lord confirming that this was the amount I was to give. I also sensed the Lord leading me to an amount for my first fruits offering and I have to admit, I wasn’t too keen on it at first. My car is almost 20 years old with 240,000 miles on it so I’ve been putting some money away each month to save up for a newer model once my trusty Subaru finally decides to bite the dust. I felt the Lord leading me to give this portion of my savings toward the campaign as my first fruits offering. This actually amounted to over a third of my overall savings but I decided to be obedient and trust that God would provide me with a new car in his timing and keep my current one running until then.
When the time came to give my offering, I gave the amount that God had asked me to give. I have to say that the feeling of sacrifice was very real for me after checking my bank balance. But then, just a few hours later, the mail came. In the mail I received several checks for several unrelated free-lance jobs I had done a while back that amounted to several hundred dollars. When I went to deposit these checks, I noticed that my paycheck had come through and it was larger than normal because of some extra work I had done. All told, the Lord gave me back almost half of what I had given in less than 24 hours! He made it abundantly clear to me that he was in this right there with me and that just because he was asking me to make a sacrifice, it didn’t mean that I would go un-provided for. If I had any doubt that God would sustain me through this time of sacrifice, it was completely obliterated by such an obvious sign of His unshakable faithfulness. I could feel my heart leap with excitement and anticipation as I began to understand more fully the strength of my God to provide for my every need.
- Chris Rothgeb