A true story written by an anonymous friend:
Have you ever wanted someone to give you a car? Remember watching the game show “The Price is Right” and seeing someone win a shiny brand new red mustang? The contestant jumped for joy with the game show lights flashing and victory music playing. What did you think and feel in that moment? I always thought how excited and lucky I would be to get a brand new car!
Recently my wife and I gave away our vehicle to another young couple. At the time, the couple we knew had a two-year old son and they were eight months pregnant with a precious baby girl. They had one family car that broke down. As a mechanic by trade, I diagnosed their vehicle and found that it would need a new engine. I knew that it would be a financial burden for them to try to fix the car with their baby coming into the world very shortly. Purchasing another car would be even more of a challenge for them. I could imagine the worry and stress they were feeling, thinking of how they would even be able to drive to the hospital when the mother went into labor. Also how would the husband be able to maintain his job without a reliable source of transportation? I could see the anxiety on my friend’s face and I knew he had thoughts of “What am I going to do now?”.
My wife and I had two vehicles and we were planning on selling one to use the money for the extra expenses that came with our very own baby that was on the way, but I thought “Let us be a blessing by blessing someone else extravagantly”. My wife agreed completely. I have heard stories before of people giving away a car and thought how awesome it would be to do just that. I wanted to be like Bob Barker on “The Price is Right” giving away a car. So my wife and I decided to give our friends our vehicle and signed the title over to them. They were so very happy and thankful and to see their reaction of joy and astonishment was more rewarding than the Price is Right contestants.
At this point, you might be thinking that this is such a feel good inspirational story. At the time I thought it was too. But there is a flip side, I did not realize how challenging and selfish giving can be. In Jeremiah 17:9 the bible says “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” I am beginning to see how deceitfully wicked my heart is through giving a car. Let me explain.
First of all, it hurt to give away our vehicle and let go of it. It was paid off, had a nice paint job, in solid mechanical condition, had nice new rims and tires, and I still wanted to hold on to it. Secondly, my wife and I did not tell anyone we gave our car away since Jesus said in Matthew 6:3-4 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” But all I wanted was a reward in return for giving. I wished and hoped God would use someone else to give my wife and I a newer and nicer vehicle. It was difficult for me to give freely. I wanted other people to know what we did so they could think more highly of us as “super giving Christians”. I wanted the praise and admiration. Finally, secretly I had regret and worry. Although I knew our friends could really use the car we gave them, I knew if we had sold it instead, we could have used the cash for our own baby on the way. I thought where would the money come from to pay for our medical bills?
So it is difficult to give. We want to hold on to our money and possessions. I mean, we earned it right? And for me, I expected to receive a blessing for giving. That’s what I’ve heard in church my whole life. But we want to skip to the blessing others part, and we often have our own notions of a blessing (usually materialistic). I thought I would feel good about myself when in fact I didn’t.
But God did bless me, but not in the way I expected. He blessed me by showing me how dark and selfish my heart is apart from Him. He showed me how much I need him. He showed me that He is teaching me to give with a pure heart so I can later receive with a pure heart. He showed me how to have contentment. In Philippians 4:11-13 it says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Contentment only comes with faith in Christ.
In conclusion, through this experience God showed me how insignificant my giving was compared to His giving. He gave his whole life for us. He sacrificed His blood, sweat, and tears by dying on the cross. I “sacrificed” a car that I cannot take with me when I die; what a joke. Jesus did everything out of a pure heart. He did not have any selfish ambition or agenda when giving. It cost Him everything and he gave it freely to us because He loves us. Jesus is the only one worthy to give and He is the only one worthy to receive all the glory. I would encourage you to ask God to show you how to give generously and lovingly (not only monetarily but other ways as well) out of a thankful response to what He already gave.