It seemed so simple. Put the water bottle under the ice dispenser, push the button, and ice would fill the bottle. But nothing in my world is that simple. I pushed the button, but nothing happened. I pushed it again, still nothing. Maybe it wasn’t working. Time to get help. You may have guessed I wasn’t staying at the type of hotel that had a concierge. I asked the young man at the front desk, “Does the ice machine work?” He said it did. We stared at each other for a long moment before he said, “Let me try it.”
As I followed him, I noticed his left arm was withered. And his left hand was missing fingers, leaving his one finger and thumb in an odd position. As he coaxed the machine to spit out ice, he used the withered arm and hand. Odd, I thought. You’d think he would use his “good” arm, but maybe he is left-handed. He tried a few times using my method (as per the instructions) with no luck. Then he pushed the button and held it in until the ice chamber filled with ice. Oh, I get it.
The only problem was the ice chamber was about 8” wide by 6” high. There was no way all that ice was going to fall nicely into my water bottle, which had about a 3” opening. He shoved the handle of the ice chamber, and CRASH! Ice avalanche. My cup was not just filled but overflowed onto the shelf and continued onto the floor. Now I knew why there was a large towel on the floor in front of the machine. Even the guest room’s ice buckets wouldn’t be able to catch all that ice.
Initially, as this unfolded, I thought I would have a cool story about a man with a withered hand. But once the ice filled and overflowed my water bottle, my thoughts switched to another verse in Luke (ironically just a few verses past the story of the man with the withered hand). As I picked up the ice from the floor and emptied enough from my bottle to make room for water, my mind went to Luke 6:38 (NIV) “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 to you.”
This verse is talking about being generous with our money. When it comes to giving back to God through the local church, missionaries, and other ministries, God promises He will bless us. It’s one of the few areas that He tell us to test Him. “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” (Malachi 3:10 ESV)
In our first year of marriage, we had a tiny apartment, a baby on the way, and one income. But we made giving a priority and put God’s challenge to the test. When we had financial needs, we never stopped giving. We asked God to meet our needs. Sometimes we received an unexpected gift, but usually, Doug would get overtime. He often joked I needed to stop praying—he was exhausted. But we kept giving, and God always met our needs even when the budget said there was nothing left. And more often He provided a blessing avalanche – pressed down, shaken together, running over, more than we could have asked or imagined.
My challenge to you – don’t let this time of year be your only season of giving. Trust God, give generously, and prepare to catch all the blessings that will pour down.