Let me paint the scene: It was a girl’s day out, everyone was grabbing some lunch, and I was stuck in the ordering line having an existential crisis about whether or not to buy a three dollar bagel.
To fully understand the scene, let's add some paint to the background.
At the time of the scene, I was working as a missionary. This fact and the bakery line crisis were inseparably linked by one reality: money. Working as missionaries, my husband and I were paid, but not very much. We did our absolute best to stay on top of our expenses and budget out our money. We were big Dave Ramsey fans.
In fact, one of our first big decisions as a married couple had been regarding how we were going to handle our money. This included tithing. Prior to our missionary life, I had not been ignorant of tithing, but had never really practiced it. I had somehow always, falsely, viewed it as something you did once you were “well-established” in a career, whatever that means. Needless to say, when my husband first brought it up in our budget discussions, I was pleased but surprised. Our conversation went something like this:
“First, we need to factor in a tithe to our budget.”
My pause was long. “That’s a good idea, but, we are missionaries. We are the kind of people that other people tithe to. I didn’t think that really applied to us…”
“Gracie, we are tithing.”
And the matter was settled.
My heart, on the other hand, was the slightest bit unsettled as we graphed out the chart and I watched that 10 percent be subtracted; 10 percent that we absolutely could have used for gas or groceries at the time. But we figured it out and decided to give it a go.
A Greater Reliance
And slowly we noticed the strangest things start to happen: insanely good deals and discounts would just pop up under our fingers, people started just giving us the exact things that we would be hunting for, waiters and waitresses even started taking care of part or all of our check. I’m not making this up. We were still living simply, but we were simultaneously living very well and found ourselves never stretched or stressed in the financial department.
Everywhere we turned, the providence of God was making itself known.
Seek First the Kingdom
I had never before witnessed some of the words of the Bible as being so true. Thanks to my husband’s leadership, we were seeking first the Kingdom of God, and everything else that we could have been concerned about was being taken care of. Life was still expensive, especially when a baby came along, but with good friends, communication, prayer, thinking ahead, and maintaining that monthly tithe, it was never as tight as we expected.
Back to the bakery line. I reluctantly ordered the bagel, knowing that I was hungry and it was a good opportunity to bond with my friends. But I felt a little guilty. After all, we were missionaries.
I got my bagel and went to our table. Five minutes later, the last of our friend group walked up, holding two bags.
“One for me, and one for you, Gracie,” she says handing me the bag.
I look down at my plate. “But, I already got my food.”
“It has your name on it, and your exact order, and has been sitting up there for five minutes and no one grabbed it. Two for the price of one, I guess it’s your lucky day!”
It was such a small thing, but I knew it had nothing to do with luck.
Store Up Treasure in Heaven
Let God be the center of your finances, and He will provide for you in the big and small ways. If you don’t already, I encourage you to incorporate a monthly tithe in to your budget. God will bless it abundantly.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. // Matthew 6:19-21
Mary Grace “Gracie” Muraski lives and works in the mountains of Colorado with her husband. She is passionate about the outdoors, intentional conversation, and anything involving pasta.