Last week I attended a funeral for Ella, a dear woman I hadn’t seen in years. She was the mother of my high school friend, Tina. I’d lost touch with Tina and Ella but still carried them in my heart because of a special connection I shared with them.
God had used Ella to plant seeds of faith in my heart when I was a teenager. One specific incident stands out. It was Sunday. As we were getting ready for church, Ella realized if she tithed, she wouldn’t have Tina’s weekly lunch money. She tithed anyway.
Ella decided to trust God’s promise:
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over and poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38 NLT)
That evening, Ella grabbed an old jacket from the closet on her way to visit a neighbor. As she walked outside, she jammed her hands in her pockets. She felt folded paper and pulled it out. She held a few dollars‑—enough for Tina’s lunch.
Ella was certain the found money was God’s doing rather than coincidence. He was returning her gift in full. Her belief got my attention, but my logical mind doubted. Nevertheless, I marveled at her confidence, and the story stayed with me.
Later, as a young mother teaching school, I was paying bills. My husband and I were building our budget to tithe. As I wrote checks, I realized that giving our budgeted amount meant not enough money to pay the credit card this month.
I recalled Ella’s example. I wanted faith like hers.
I didn’t pay the credit card. Instead, I gave the committed amount to my church. I decided I could cut living expenses enough to double the amount paid next month. When the statement arrived, I opened it to assess the late fee. I received a pleasant surprise. The account showed no money past due. I’d paid extra the previous month, and it was enough to cover the missed payment.
This time there was no doubt. God showed me He would provide; deeper grew my roots of faith.
“Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops, then your barns will be filled to overflowing …” (Prov. 3:9-10 NIV)
Ella’s simple testimony years before showed me a personal relationship with Jesus I hadn’t known. It’s one I’d longed for ever since, and my faith had been growing. But the leap it took to trust God with our finances that month and His perfect response was huge.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:5)
Since I committed my life to God and began trusting Him in all things, I’ve been blessed time and again. God has always, more than enough, met my needs.
Unsurprisingly, Ella’s service revealed the lovely 93-year-old had influenced the faith of four generations of family. And my remembrance of her raised a question for me: What seeds of faith am I planting?
Our words and actions affect the faith of others. We need to share experiences that demonstrate God’s work in our lives. Tell the stories to our children and grandchildren. And their friends. A jaw-dropping, mired-in-sin, raised-from-the-dead testimony is not necessary to plant a seed that will steer someone’s heart toward God.
© Copyright February 2021 Candyce Carden, used with permission.