Do you have anything written down about your teaching on 2 Corinthians 9? I read the text on my phone.
No, I replied. But, I could (write something) if you'd like.
My mini-Corinthians sermon, preached to my good friend the day before, always includes an amazing true story. Thus, in answer to her request, I decided to write this new blog post, for any and all to read.
It actually began about 10 years ago, with the purchase of a school raffle ticket. For the next few weeks, I held on to my tiny ticket, hoping and praying I would win the giveaway prize, a Ford Mustang Convertible!
At the same time, I was memorizing a compelling passage of scripture, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work...Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (Emphasis added, mine)
In the meantime, my second son happened to propose to his college sweetheart. On their way home from the blessed event, his ancient car (older than himself) decided to drive it's very last mile. Not good timing. Feeling confident I might win my dream car, I told him, "IF I win the Ford Mustang, then we'll give you one of our other cars."
Fast forward a few weeks, still holding on to my raffle ticket, continuing to memorize my verses, and praying for God to provide a car for my son (and a new convertible for me), a friend invited my husband and me to fill recently vacated seats at big fund raiser in Los Angeles the next night. We said yes!
Twenty-four hours later, we found ourselves seated with our longtime friends, as well as a few hundred others, learning about the needs of some very special children in the L.A. area. Although, I hadn't bid on any of the items being auctioned, I did purchase 3 tickets for a sporty little Chevy being raffled. Plus, our friends gave me three more.
Through the evening, I kept thinking of my son, who really needed a new car. However, I confess, I wanted the convertible too. I didn't dare ask God to win both cars! Yet, in my heart of hearts, I really wanted to win the little car for my son. So, all through the event I kept whispering, "Lord, you know my heart. You know my heart."
As the evening ended, they finally drew the winner of the car. My petition intensified, "Lord, you know my heart!" Then the emcee's eyes scanned the large banquet hall, he read the name on the ticket, "Cathy," he read. I held my breathe. "No not you, Cathy...," His eyes looking toward the other side of the room.
Then he spoke again, "Caaatttthhhhyyyyyy Horning!" I sunk down in my chair. While everyone at our table was yelling, cheering and screaming, "You won! You won!"
I sat, silent and stunned!
Afterwards, I fully intended to give the car to my son. Until, I was seated in it. Then, with my senses full of the intoxicating new car smell and the shiny new bells and whistles, I wrestled with whether to keep it for myself or to give it away.
As we drove home to San Diego, (we would pick up the new car at the dealership later), I wept the whole way. A song filled my heart, I am humbled by your mercy and I am broken inside. Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my heart. And, as we drove, I struggled with the question, "do I keep the new car and give one of our used cars to my son? Or do I give him the new car?"
I asked my husband what to do. "It's your car," he said. "You make the decision." Then he added, "What scripture have you been praying lately?" (I often turn the passages I am memorizing into my prayers).
"Lord, make us rich in every way, so that we can be generous on every occasion," I quoted from 2 Corinthians 9:11, "and let our generosity result in thanksgiving to You!" Then suddenly, I knew the answer! The new car, the car I just won, was not mine at all. God had made us rich that night, so that we could be generous to our son, and so that He might be praised.
My tears stopped. My heart filled with peace and joy. I was utterly in awe of what God had done! You see, God knew my son and his soon-to-be wife would use that little car to serve the youth at their inner city church in L.A. He knew they would continue to drive that little car, to selflessly serve others, as well as transport a growing family. 10 years later, they are still using their little orange car to serve the Lord.
Whenever I see the car I won that night, I remember the lessons I have learned from 2 Corinthians 9. God is our provider. "He is able to bless us abundantly..." And despite my selfishness, He provides for us so that we might, in return, give generously to others, "by our abounding in every good work" and "by Him enlarging the harvest of our righteousness," so that ultimately, through our generosity, He will be praised!