Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What do you do...

...when they give it back?

One of the biggest lessons in the Financial Peace University series is class #13, the last one, called The Great Misunderstanding. He basically says that if you get this last lesson wrong, the rest of the lesson won't matter much in the long run. You'll never truly find financial peace.

As part of the lesson,
Dave Ramsey goes into a lengthy explanation about giving that breaks down to these three ideas:

1. It's not YOUR money - it's ALL God's! We are simply the stewards and He is the Lord of the Manor.

2. We are built in His image. He gives us everything - including His Son. So, if we are to be striving to be Christ-like, we should be giving.

3. If you hold on to your money with a clenched fist, yes, you may not "lose" any but none can come in either. Plus, the universal sign of anger is a clenched fist. On the other hand, if you remember Who is all belongs to, you keep your money in an open hand - yes, money may come and go. You will give and it may not come back financially; your pocket may not grow, but your heart will.

I "happened" to find the soundtrack from this DVD lesson in the mini-van's player this afternoon while doing our grocery shopping. I've heard it before - several times. One of the things DaHubby and I are most looking forward to when we reach that "baby step 7" is the giving! But, in the meantime, we try to bless those around us as we can.

For example, our first family night out that we saved up for so as to do it ONLY with cash, we found at the end of the evening as we sat in a restaurant munching on late night treats with the kids that we would have money left over after we paid the bill. It was late. The poor waitress was not only waiting on us but a large several-tables-long group of loud teenagers. So, we wanted to bless her and gave her everything we had left. That money was meant to be spent that night. The night was over so we gave her the rest! LOL

Well, back to I was waiting in the last grocery line today, the lady in front of me was having trouble. She seemed nice enough. Had said "hi" and "excuse me" when we nearly collided in the produce section earlier. She was being sweet to "my" regular cashier. LOL But, with her first subtotal, it appeared she was about $5 short.

She was using a Bridge card - which is the debit card for the Michigan food stamp program. As I had paid bills (including the mortgage) before leaving the house, I was also acutely aware that it is the end of the month and, if her card was empty, she had no more money for food for the next 6 days.

So, knowing a nudge from God when I see one (LOL), I rummaged in my purse and found my cash envelopes. I had just been braggin' to someone Monday that I had never put the alloted funds in the mini-van's gas tank last week so the envelope is still full when I filled my envelopes for the upcoming week today.

I pulled out a $5 (which, honestly, in our mini-van would not be a whole lot of mileage LOL) and gave it to the cashier. And, the cashier balked. She hesitated to take it so I just laid it on the pile of change the customer in front of me was counting out and she was deciding what things to void off her order with several people behind her. Can ya' say "been there done that"?

When all was said and done (and counted), she ended up not needing the $5 and, after very graciously thanking me and giving me a hug, she gave the money back.

And, that's where I balked.

If the Lord "nudged" me to intervene, should I have taken the money back? Should I have insisted she keep it? Initially, I had simply said "no problem, ma'am...that's why my hubby and I are working the program we're working so we can help in situations like this. Just pass it along some time in the future when you are able to." If I had insisted she keep it, maybe she was meant to give it to someone down the line.

While I'm thrilled at the opportunity to serve, I feel like I may have messed it up somehow. LOL

So, what do you do if they give it back?


sara said...

Maybe it was a test. Like a much much much mini-er version of Abraham being willing to give up Isaac and then being given him back.

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Sara, my in-laws agree with you! LOL

After I posted and while I was explaining what happened to them, the light bulb went off.

The book I'm ready about stopping whining in the kids talks about obedience. And, one of its key phrases is (and I'm really simplifying this to make a point) "do it now and we'll talk about it after".

And, my retired-pastor FIL and former-pastors-wife MIL agree, it was probably a test.

GiBee said...

Sooooooo been there, Sooooooo done that.

I don't think you messed anything up. I think God goes to the ROOT of our HEARTS, and you were obedient to the Holy Spirit's prompting. What other's do with the blessing after you have obeyed is on their own hands.

Does that sound harsh?

barrellfullofmonkeys said...

You could say, "I've never seen that money before in my life! Why don't you keep it, it looks happy with you." ;)

Kathy D.

Jodi said...

I totally agree - as long as you listened to the God nudge, nothing else really matters. The cashier might just have needed to see you blessing the other patron as a pick-me-up to her day or the patron might have needed to know that she's not alone and that other people care. It might not have truly been about the money at all, just Jesus reaching out and giving one of those ladies (or someone else watching) a much needed hug! Good for you! Faithful - that's all He asks for, and you definitely passed! :)

Amanda said...

We went through the class...we are not debt free and have our kids set up with savings and college plans.
Dave is a GREAT inspiration and his ideas and methods WORK!!!
FYI-I try to feed my kids organic and all natural foods and the best way to do it is local farms. They are often cheaper then grocery stores and you can fell great about what youa re feeding your kids!
God bless-