$127.10. That’s my typical paycheck. Last Sunday, when my calendar said “T-minus 10 days until takeoff,” and I realized I was still $550 (plus $50 “just in case”) away from going on the summer mission trip, I knew it wouldn’t be enough. There was no way my $127.10 paycheck would amount to the $600 I needed.
In a mad search around my house for something to sell, I found my old coin jar. It wasn’t full, but I decided to break it open. Based on my experience playing “Guess How Many Jelly Beans” at birthday parties, I estimated it’d give me about $50—maybe $70, if there were many quarters.
I took it to a coin-counting machine in the store and prayed for an Ephesians 3:20-21 kind of provision. God, can you milk even $100 out of this? I didn’t want to set up false expectations, so I stopped number crunching and kept pouring. God, provide exceedingly and abundantly. I think the screen read about $325 when curious people from the checkout lines began to gather, saying, “You’ve hit the jackpot!” and “This is the best machine in Vegas!” When the machine finally gobbled up the last of the coins, it reached $400, on the dot.
Then suddenly it went to $401. Then to $402. “What’s happening?” My jar was empty. I had nothing left to give. I could still hear the coins inside the machine, though, torrenting and raining, and they wouldn’t stop. The machine read $472.90 when it finally finished, and that was after the machine’s fee was deducted. Following the math? That $472.90 plus my $127.10 paycheck equaled $600, on the dot.
At church this Sunday, I went to tell the story to Pastor Tim, but before I could, he told me that someone anonymously donated $500 designated for my trip. Well, I laughed like a maniac in my car all the way home. Not only has my trip been paid for, but the extra $50 “just-in-case” money was covered an extra ten times over. Last Sunday, I was $550 short. This Sunday, I have $550 extra.
My debt was paid and my ticket was bought, not by anything I could have possibly earned, but by His miraculous gift. He paid my debt to get me to my end destination, but then also added a blessing onto it. Likewise, He bought me a ticket into heaven, but also wants a relationship with me in this lifetime. He came that people “may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). If His present blessing for me is this extensive, then His past forgiveness of me must be even more so. If He gives the kinds of gifts that abundantly exceed our expectations, then I can’t begin to imagine how valuable His greatest gift was. I don’t think I could wrap my mind around the power of the cross. Yet it is in object lessons like these that He expresses Himself so that we may “know the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18-19). He is vast. So is His love for us. So should our hope and our trust in Him be. Point proven, O Provider.