Summary: A sermon on tithing and trusting in God.
"Don't Be Afraid"
In her Book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom--A Christian who got caught hiding Jewish people from the Nazis during World War Two--tells the story of she and her sister Betsy's experiences in the German Concentration Camps during the Holocaust.
At one of the camps, the prisoners had to hand over most medicines they had brought with them, but they were allowed to keep a few toiletry items.
Corrie kept a bottle of Davitamin, a liquid vitamin compound, that, at the time she entered the camp was only half-full.
Vitamin deficiency was one of the worst health hazards to the prisoners and, understandably, Corrie's instinct was to horde the precious bottle for her sister Betsy who was terribly ill.
But many others were sick too, and as Corrie writes, "It was hard to say 'no' to eyes that burned with fever, hands that shook with chill."
Soon, the number of women receiving a daily dose from that bottle was over 30 people.
Corrie writes, "And still, every time I tilted the bottle, a drop appeared at the tip of the glass stopper.
It just couldn't be!"
Corrie continues, "I held it up to the light, trying to see how much was left, but the dark brown glass was too thick to see through...
...Many nights I lay awake...trying to fathom the marvel of the supply lavished upon us."
One time Corrie said to her sister, "Maybe, only a molecule or two really gets through that little pinhole--and then in the air it expands!"
But her sister just laughed and said, "Don't try too hard to explain it, Corrie. Just accept it as a surprise from a Father Who loves you."
Wonderful things happened all through the Bible through those who put their trust in God and put other's interests before their own.
It's one thing to believe that such things were possible thousands of years ago, it's another to have it happen now, to us in this very day.
In Corrie Ten Boom's experience, she writes that it happened every day, to the point that "an awed little group of spectators stood around watching the drops fall...daily."
Amazingly, when, finally a huge supply of vitamins were smuggled into the camp, and the bottle wasn't needed anymore--the bottle immediately was empty.
What miracles are God performing in your midst?
Do we take the time to notice?
Life itself is the miracle of all miracles, is it not?
A God Who Created us and loves us so much that He came and died for us--is an incredible miracle.
The fact that there is a heaven, there is hope, there is coming a time when there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth becomes less difficult to believe when we take note of the miraculous that surrounds us at all times!!!
When we experience the presence of God it becomes more and more easy to trust in God's provision, in God's love.
When we live a life based on faith in Christ, and the longer we live this life of faith, and the farther we travel life's roads with Jesus--the more we are able to trust, to rejoice and to be filled with anticipation rather than fear and despair.
Because we find that what the Bible tells us about God is true.
We experience it for ourselves, up close and personal.
And when we experience it, we gain trust.
And along with trust comes confidence.
What did the Apostle Paul say?
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all things through him who gives me strength."
This is something we learn through the experience of trusting in God.
Do you trust in God?
A very dear friend of mine, John LeGault, a United Methodist Pastor in Virginia who just retired this past year has been diagnosed with cancer.
When I heard the news, I was very saddened.
So, I immediately called up John expecting to have a, kind of, down in the dumps conversation with my old friend.
I was shocked at how good a mood he was in.
He wasn't happy to have cancer, he said that he had hoped to have a long retirement, and acknowledged that he still might...
...but he said to me, "Ken, I am the Lord's. Whether I live or die I am the Lord's."
"I trust in God."
Later he laughed, "I've been preaching this stuff all these years, and by golly, I believe it!!!"
It was an extremely inspiring conversation.