The 7:45 PM train to Paoli/Thorndale

G:

Remember that time the 7:45 PM train to Paoli/Thorndale was running late and I was running early? Cold, tired, my backpack sat heavy on my shoulders.

He approached me like he had approached the other ten people waiting on the elevated outdoor platform. He apologized for the interruption, curious to know if maybe, just maybe, I could spare a few dollars.

“How much do you need?”

My soul stirred with some sort of Christian obligation, the paraphrased verse “whatever you do for the least of these you do for Me,” flashing through my mind. He didn’t look dangerous or homeless—he just looked like he wanted to go home.

“Just four dollars.”

You remember what I did next. I sneakily fumbled through my wallet using the wall of my purse as camouflage. My fingers flipped through a five, a couple twenties, and two one dollar bills.

I paused as my thumb and index finger tugged the five dollar bill, hesitated, then pulled out the two one dollar bills.

He thanked me, hoped that You may bless me, and walked further down the platform.

I figured he could easily get the last two dollars he needed for the $6 train ticket. After all, you know I had my own uses for that five-dollar bill. I saw him get at least one more dollar from a young girl with a ponytail and a duffle bag.

As the awaiting mass gravitated towards the doors of the approaching train, I saw him out of the corner of my eye asking for one more dollar. I grabbed my purse ready to unzip to get my wallet, but the elbows of impatient passengers propelled me through the open door like cattle into a pen.

You remember what happened next.

The western suburbs of Philadelphia blurred outside the moving car as I took the longest twenty-five minute train ride of my life. Cold, tired, my wallet sat heavy in my lap, the vision of the man standing on the platform as the train pulled away heavy on my mind.

He made me think of you.

You’d think I would have learned by now. You’d think I would remember that everything I have is because of You. But no, I’m holding onto my wallet, attempting to hide what you know too well I have in there saying, “How about two dollars?” Nodding to the girl with the ponytail and the duffel bag “I bet you she has a great job. Go bug her for more.”

It’s silly, really. I trust you in every other area of my life: career, potential marriage, you name it, but when my direct deposit comes in with my paycheck suddenly that’s off limits. Please step away. Please do not touch. You see that there aren’t any extra zeros added onto my available balance so why would you ask me to give you 10 dollars let alone 10%? Let’s be realistic here, let’s be wise. You know that if I give you 10% I won’t have enough money to pay for my food, gas, my Chickfila 8 count nuggets. Heck, don’t even mention my savings account with 4 cents in it. You want me to wise, right? But you also want me to trust. Why can’t I seem to trust you with my money?

I keep thinking about Jacob after his dream in Bethel when on his journey to meet his future wives Leah and Rachel. You spoke to him and told him you were going to be with him wherever he went to fulfill the promise you gave to Abraham—that his descendants would be blessed and would be more numerous than the stars. When he woke up, he took the rock he used as a pillow and propped it up as a pillar vowing that if you took care of him, gave him food, gave him shelter, and brought him back to his dad’s house, that he would give you a tenth of all that you gave him (Genesis 28:10-22). Fast forward to Malachi, and you ask me to test you in this by bringing my whole tithe into your storehouse. “Test me in this… and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10). Have you not provided me with a place to sleep, food to eat, a job that pays the bills? Why then do I continue to hoard what I have instead of bringing it into your storehouse?

I know you promise that I am more special than the birds of the air and the flowers of the field (Matthew 6:25-34). Like birds, like flowers, like Jacob, you promise to take care of me.

Me of little faith.

Forgive me for not being faithful with the little you have given me. For how can I be trusted with more if I haven’t been faithful with little? Forgive me for not having faith that you will take care of me financially. Forgive me for giving you two dollars when I should be giving you my wallet.

Everything I am, everything I have, is from you, and is Yours.

Here’s to bringing my 10% into your storehouse.

(Stay tuned for the opening of the floodgates.)

Your child,

m

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