God’s Arithmetic

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    One day, my husband and I received a letter from the daughter of one of our friends. She was asking for our prayers and financial support for a youth mission trip to another country. We were delighted to be part of such an exciting plan!

    This young lady was going to another continent to bring the Good News about Christ through a sports activity for young people there.

    My husband and I discussed it, and we decided to give her P10,000.00 — we were happy to be one of her mission partners! (Forgive me for mentioning the exact amount — you will understand why after you read the rest of this story.)

    We knew it was a very small amount compared to what others would, and could afford, to give. But we knew that God honors whatever we give for His purposes — it’s our hearts He sees, not the amounts written on our checks. Jesus’ parable on the Widow’s Mite was meant to send us a clear message.

    So I gave our love gift to this young lady’s mom, along with our prayers that many, many young people in that far-off continent would joyfully surrender their lives to Christ.
    On the same day, something mind-boggling happened.

    A friend of ours gave us a check for P120,000.00!!!

    It was for our daughter who was going to be our church’s first campus missionary. She had just graduated from Ateneo and was already working with Citibank. But the calling to be a campus missionary was strong and clear to her — so after much prayer, she decided to resign from her job to become a full-time worker for Christ.

    Imagine that. On the same day, God returned to us 12 times more than what we gave!!!

    What a generous and encouraging Father.

    After that experience, we learned to give to His work more and more sacrificially, without fear or regret.

    Through the years, we’ve seen, again and again, that God’s arithmetic, God’s economy, is mind-boggling. He always out-gives us — to show us that He’s the Source, the Provider of all good things. He wants to encourage us to give joyfully to His programs and projects. He wants to assure us that He will always honor our giving back to Him by gifting us with much, much more than we ever asked for, or imagined. He can give back financially, spiritually, relationally or in practical terms — only He knows what our real needs are, and that’s where He will repay us.

    For instance, I know someone who gave up a high position in one of our country’s biggest companies to eventually serve in church, full time. He knew that his income was not only going to shrink significantly but he’d also lose the perks that he had been accustomed to.

    But the call to serve God, full-time, was strong and clear. He asked his wife and children (who were then in high school or college) about it, and they all agreed that he should give up his career to serve God. Even if their dad warned them that their lifestyle would have to be simplified.

    Twenty years hence, that decision — which seemed financially foolhardy to some of the man’s friends back then — has proven to be an excellent one for this man and his family.

    The gains are surprisingly unprecedented and constant. All his children graduated from top schools, all maintained good grades all throughout. But more importantly, all his children grew up to be kind, honest, hard-working, intelligent, good-looking, and fun-loving adults who have very close relationships as siblings, and with their parents. All of them are doing well, financially and career-wise. On top of all that, they are also wonderful, hands-on parents themselves.

    Tell me, isn’t this a marvelous payback for their dad’s decision to give up his successful career — to serve God? Their dad would probably have more materially had he chosen to keep his job. But what God gave him, in return, is priceless, of incomparable value: a wonderful marriage, great family relationships, a meaningful life, and most of all, an intimate relationship with Christ. The best investment he could’ve ever made in his life — an investment with eternal returns, and a magnificent bonus: his blessings keep overflowing to his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his staff, and hundreds of other people. In fact, countless times, this man’s children have said how they continue to be beneficiaries of God’s blessings on their parents!

    This is an amazing truth: we can never, never outgive God. Not in material or non-material blessings.

    This is God’s economy. God’s arithmetic. He wants to bless us much, much more than we want to be blessed by Him!

    That’s why Jesus said, “I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.” To avail of this promise, we need only to surrender our lives to Him.

    It’s a splendid exchange. An offer only a fool would refuse, and will regret not accepting, for a very, very long time — for eternity.