$3 and change

$3I was slowly working through Wendy Blight’s new study Quiet My Anxious Heart…and God taught me a powerful lesson using the very first question.

1.  Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” What does it look like to love God

…with all your heart?

…with all your mind?

…with all your soul?

…with all your strength?

When I read this first question I hastily scribbled, “In all things He should come first, with no exception,” across my page. I quickly moved on to the next questions, knowing I was already a week behind. By the time I reached question three though I stopped myself…

Why am I rushing?

No one is hovering over my shoulder seeing how fast I can answer these questions. No one is wondering, “Hm…if she’s doing this study, why hasn’t she commented on the blog yet?”

If my purpose of doing this study is to stop and rest in Jesus…then I am only accountable to Him. He is the one whom I answer to and it’s my relationship with Him that suffers by carelessly answering these questions rather than actually using them to guide my heart closer to Him.

So I went back to that first question…trying to figure out just what it looks like to truly love God with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. I imagine scribbling the “right” answer isn’t a step in the right direction.

Throughout the day, I asked God to show me what all this meant. The answer came, though sadly, I didn’t recognize it until it was too late.

After work I had to fill up on gas last Thursday. While at the gas station, a man approached me asking for change so he could buy a soda, his palm already holding a small assortment of coins. My reply was simple.

“I’m sorry sir, I honestly don’t carry cash on me.”

He pressed again, saying he just wanted to buy a soda. Dirty coins littering his palm.

“I really don’t carry cash with me, I’m sorry. God Bless.”

Honestly…I lied. Though I normally don’t have any cash in my wallet, I had $3 that day. Conviction was already mounting in my heart, yet I did nothing. The man went to the van next to me and I listened with grief in my heart as the two men there cussed at him, screaming at him to leave them alone. I won’t write the horrid things they hollered for the world to hear; not holding back their displeasure with words that would put any military man to shame. James 2:14-18 pounded in my heart.

What use are my words, “God Bless,” when I have done nothing to help his physical needs? Even if it was just a soda? Those two words were an empty response. God was giving me an opportunity to actually bless this man…

Still I simply pumped my gas…which was taking longer than usual and I imagine God was giving me ample opportunity to obey.

As my opportunity drew to a close, that conviction only got heavier and heavier with no action on my part. Jesus’ words to Peter thundered within my heart, “Do you love me?…then feed My sheep.”

I actually longed to walk over and give him the $3 I had in my wallet. After all, what was I hanging on to it for anyway? He continued to stand by the other two men, who were still screaming curses at him. Anger burned in me at the injustice he was experiencing, harsh words in response to a small request. It only would’ve taken a dozen steps for me to apologize and give him what I had. Instead, I got in my car, conviction continuing to press on my heart like a 100lb weight, and drove away.

“Baby girl…why are you holding on to something that belongs to Me? You were worried that he would spend it on something other than a soda, but sweetheart, his choices are between his heart and mine; his choices are not your concern. However…what I call you to do is between you and I. You were concerned about going by those two angry men, but darling, I was with you, my angels were guarding you and your daughter. Today I asked a simple thing from you, you longed to obey yet you held back. That conviction pressing on your heart is from Me and even with its crushing weight, you did nothing. This morning you earnestly asked Me to show you what it means to love Me with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Well…that’s what it means… Obey my commands, no matter how small. Trust in me above all else, no matter what you see with your eyes for My glory which is unseen overpowers all else. Love those around you, no matter how lowly they may appear {remember that verse from Hebrews about entertaining angels?}. Above all child, don’t ignore Me when I call you to act.”

You can imagine what happened next. My soul burst into tears.

What do I know about what it means to love God above all else? What do I really know about making Him a priority, with no exception? I heard His voice as clear as day, yet I couldn’t bring myself to obey a simple request of giving up my $3 and change.

Lord, I know You have already forgiven me for disobeying Your command. What made me think that ignoring this man’s simple request was justifiable? As You said, his choices are between Your heart and his. You called me to give him what I had, yet my choice was to disobey You. Father, this has taught me to never ignore Your prompting and to act in obedience; however, I am frail, longing to truly love You with all that I am and still falling short. Forgive me for being disobedient. Strengthen me to do better, to not simply tell You how much I love You…but to allow Your Holy Spirit to work through me, putting that love into action. Amen.

How about you? Has God ever put a simple command on your heart that you in turn ignored? What did you do about it afterward? Share your thoughts below or if you have a blog post with answering these questions, I invite you to share the link.

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33 thoughts on “$3 and change

  1. Oh my goodness Heather!!! How well do I know what you are saying. It was in early 90’s with a toddler underfoot. my husband and I were struggling with cash and I had recently placed an ad for babysitting in the laundry room so I could work at home. Well I had forgotten it was there and one night I cried out to God. Please God help me be able to help my husband in some way. Well a few days after that prayer/ plea, I recieved a call from a woman who needed a babysitter. She wanted to meet with me that evening. It was also the same night a movie I wanted to watch was on. So I quickly scrambled to get the VCR( yes it was that long ago) set.

    My husband and I rushed to find a tape and set up the vcr like this movie was the end all it just had to be watched movie. In the mean time she and her precious daughter arrived. my husband busied himself as I answered the door and invited the woman and her daughter in. They sat at the table and we began a brief conversation of what she needed and wanted in a babysitter. I only half listened as I divided my attention between her and the upcoming movie. Clearly this action was visible to the woman and after she left I knew two things, I would never see her again and this was God’s answer to a prayer that I clearly blantenly ignored. I sent the rest of the night crying and asking God to forgive me, wondering if He would ever answer a prayer again,

    Since that moment I have been careful when I ask for help and I feel God nudging me toward something. I am SO glad He forgives and gives us a second chance. I’m also behind in the study, but the time spent in God’sd Word and the lessons learned are great,, and in His timing. It’s amazing!!!

    Debi

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  2. Oh, Heather, I absolutely love this post. Your words moved me to tears because I have been where you were…hearing and not obeying. Feeling shame and guilt. But how grateful I am that our God is not a God of guilt and condemnation. No! He is a God of GRACE. A God of SECOND CHANCES. A GOOD and LOVING God. I know with all my heart the next time…sweet friend…the next time you will say, “Yes, Lord, I will feed your sheep.” Thank you for being so real today. I surely needed to hear this message. It would take too long to explain why, but I know that I know it was, in part, meant for me and my heart.

    Love you,

    me

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your heart Heather. Your words reflected much of what has been on my heart lately. Feeling stress from a negative work situation and other pressures has led me to rush through my time with God and letting guilt steal the joy from that time with Him. Thank you thank you dear sister for reminding me just how important it is to listen to those whispers as before, to quiet myself, to cherish my time with Him and to act on those $3 situations that are impressed on my heart. Love your heart! Kristi

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  4. Thank you for sharing your heart in such a real, vulnerable way Heather. I trust God will use this story and your honesty to touch many. I too have been there…hearing the voice of God, but not listening to His direction. A hard place to be, but I trust He will use this and give you another opportunity to live out the lesson you’ve learned. So thankful for His grace and forgiveness for you and me!

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  5. I would not have given change either… because they usually want the $ for drugs, alcohol, ect. I would go in and buy a drink for the person. Not that I am changing the meaning of this. Yes God hears us and he wants to be 1st. I gave a guy $5. in front of a fast food join one day.. and he trekked through the bushes to the ABC store. My daughters were “Mom, because of you he is going to get drunker!”

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    1. Thank you for sharing Sara. Normally, that’s something I would do as well, but in this particular case, that isn’t what God was pressing me to do. He was calling me to give him what I had, regardless of the choice he would make. It was about my obedience to God, or in this case, lack thereof.
      ❤ Heather

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  6. Thank you for sharing, I had left that question blank, I didn’t know how to answer, I guess I was looking for something “profound” I had even asked my daughter how she would answer the question, knowing how kids can sometimes be so “wise” 🙂 but she didn’t have any answers for me. I even went to the comment section looking for inspiration, that didn’t help. Your lesson puts it into perspective and maybe knowing that God knows what we are going to do anyway he used you to help people like me!!! God bless.

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  7. Heather. I remember you talking with a homeless person wanting him to come to church. you had no fear going to speak with him but it scared me. I remember being at church and going to the Texaco station to fill up a strangers car and you and or your sister was scared for me. but you know we do what God moves us to do. He nudges us. whispers to us. and some times smacks us up the side of the head. but he never asks us to do anything he wouldn’t do. carry a street ministry bag. even got Danny to carry one. society teaches us to fear one another. caution is wise but sometimes God asks us to do things outside our comfort zone. that is when we can show God that we love Him heart soul and mind.

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  8. I was exiting the interstate and saw a man with a sign. I passed by while explaining to my son what I was considering and why. I reached in my coin purse and pulled out my last $5. By this time I’d already passed the guy. I made no real effort to get his attention but said that if he came in my direction I would give it to him. I really felt like I should him my last, but sat motionless halfway hoping he wouldn’t come so I would still have that little bit. As the light changed to green, I slowly put the money back considering getting back on the freeway to loop around and take that exit again but did nothing. Heart heavy, I didn’t know how to explain my disobedience to my son. So I silently repented for my disobedience…help me get to the place of willingness to do anything God asks without hesitation.

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  9. Love this post. I sometimes rationalize not giving to someone because I think they have a greater chance of not using it for their betterment. But I really liked your dialogue with The Lord about giving because it was a call coming from Him. Feed my sheep. It’s so simple.
    I saw you are a Texas girl living in Florida, is it? I am a Minnesota girl living in Texas! I was whisked away by my very own dreamy cowboy, lol!

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  10. Thank you for sharing. Your message spoke to my heart. I pray that I will listen when the Holy Spirit prompts me to do something. I know I have passed up many opportunities to show God’s love to others.

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  11. Heather,

    I was so happy to see your blog today. I was behind and struggling with catching up on an online Bible study that I’m doing right now. You hit it on the nail for me.

    Thanks

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  12. This post really hit home with me. Recently my family went out to dinner with friends….friends that are not saved yet. We always say Grace before our meal, even at restaurants but this particular time we didn’t. I felt convicted to speak up and say Grace in front of these friends but I didn’t, I stayed quiet. That choice overtook every thought for the rest of that evening and a lot of thoughts since. Instead of saying Grace and enjoying our meal and company…..I was not enjoying any of it. I’m praying that I never do that again.

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  13. I struggle with this very situation often….there is a man that asks for money at the intersection I take to come home most days. If I have some cash (I don’t normally carry any either), I try to pray and ask God to guide me that day. Sometimes I have given it to him and sometimes I have not. My daughters will sometimes ask me to give him money and I try to explain that either I don’t have any or that yes, maybe he will use it for something bad.

    My husband offered him food once and the man declined, our oldest daughter was with him. They were both surprised and our daughter was upset. She didn’t understand why he would turn it down. I tried to explain that maybe someone had tried to hurt him before, or maybe he even had allergies, we don’t know. But, when we see him and don’t have anything to offer, we pray for him and ask God to help him.

    I feel your pain. I too have driven away with a weight on my chest. It’s awful, but I am praying that I can grow in saying yes to God when He asks me to do something. And that I can hear Him.

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  14. I am so glad I read this…the part about if the man was really going to use the money to buy a soda like he said or something else. When someone approaches me for money like that, the first thing that comes to my mind is if they are really needing the money or going to use it for what they say. I don’t need to worry about that though because that is between their heart and God’s heart! I have never thought about that until reading this blog. I am chosing to say YES to God and whatever he lays on my heart. I will no longer ignore him in a situation like this again. I will trust in him above no one else!

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  15. I can so relate to this. That is also my response whenever someone approaches me for money, almost like something I have rehearsed. My youngest son recently came back from a mission trip with his youth group where he worked in an inner city with homeless people. Now, when we see someone, he has true empathy for them. This is my chance to say yes to God with my son. Your post has inspired me to do something I have heard someone else say that they have done….put together little paper bags with some supplies in each: a Cliff bar, a bottled water, some gum, some chapstick. Keep them in my car. When I see someone in need, I can give them one of these care bags as well as cash if I have it on me. What a better lesson this is teaching my son then what I normally do. Thanks for your honesty and thought. xoxo

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    1. A church I worked at in Austin, TX does this. They call them blessing bags and it costs about $2 to assemble each bag. Members of the church can chip in and take bags with a few essentials and a note of blessing to hand out to those in need. Such a wonderful idea!

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  16. ok – so I am here with tears in my eyes. I have ignored those callings from the Holy Spirit as well. Good news is..we get more accustomed to hearing the Holy Spirit and our heart knows how sad we will be if we do not answer.

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  17. i was moved to tears from this post, Heather. how powerful. i am so thankful that God gives us second chances to listen to him when we miss the first and that he loves us in spite of our difficulty in saying yes sometimes. i’m also so thankful that he speaks to us so lovingly when we blow and an pulls us to him in that moment to show us the error of our ways like a loving father. may we always be open to doing what he calls us to do – to say Yes – the first time.

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  18. What a great testimony! Isn’t it amazing how God always has a way of teaching us? Good for you for listening even if it was too late, God knows our hearts and I’m sure you’ve learned such a valuable lesson from Him!

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  19. This was beautiful. I know all too well what it feels like to ignore those inner promptings.Saying Yes to God isn’t always easy or comfortable. i know with practice it will become easier.

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  20. Thanks, Heather, for being so honest about your failure to obey God’s voice in this instance! I’m visiting from the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God Blog Hop. We’ve all had these times when we knew what God wanted us to do but chose to walk away instead. It is a horrible feeling! It is comforting to know I’m not alone and to be reminded that His grace is sufficient…now I’ll be looking for a fresh opportunity to obey today!

    Thanks also for the verse mapping technique…I LOVED that!

    Blessings in Christ,
    Molly Garibaldi

    http://www.throneofgrace.com

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