In my younger years, I remember being taught that JOY came from putting Jesus first in your life, then Others, then Yourself. J-O-Y! I saw this principle worked out just this past Friday.
I had a business appointment near the mall here, so after I finished, I decided to go to the mall to see if I could find a pair of shoes. All of my winter dress shoes were starting to fall apart. I needed something with a slight heel but not too high. However, I did not have much money to spend. Shortly after I entered the mall, I saw an employee of Bath & Body standing at their entrance handing out bags and letting people know of their sales that day. I stopped and asked her if there was a shoe store in the mall, and she said, “Unfortunately, no.” She invited me into her store, but I explained to her that money was tight and that I couldn’t purchase any of their merchandise that day. I went and looked at J.C. Penney’s and the shoes ranged from $60-90. I could not afford that! I walked back out into the mall, and as I passed her again, she suggested that I go to Macys because they often had good clearance sales. So, I did that and sure enough, I found a pair for 74% off-$19.96!! And they were exactly what I wanted.
I had to go by Bath & Body on my way out of the mall, and that young lady was still at their entrance. She recognized me and asked if I’d found any. I told her yes and about the big discount. Never once after the first contact had she asked me again to purchase anything in her store. However, I decided to ‘reward’ her selflessness and treat myself, so I entered the store and bought two items of their merchandise-both purchases totally less than the full price of the cheapest shoes at Penney’s or Macys!
It reminded me of the Biblical teaching, “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6) And Jesus taught his disciples that, “Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
God will see and bless when you put others’ welfare above your own.
And to finish the day….that evening, I received an email that told me that I would be receiving a full refund for a $119.96 purchase that I had made a few weeks ago. It was a purchase that I really couldn’t afford, but I did it in support of some others, and it was something that I also got a lot of enjoyment from so I do not want you to think that I did it only for them. However, the thing is that although I shared what I’d done with a friend and expressed my opinion that it was a little pricey, I did not ask for a refund!
Somehow, I think it all fit together. You just cannot out-give the Lord!!
Jesus said in Mark 12:29-31 in answer to someone’s query as to what was the most important commandment, “The most important is Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.”