In 1968, I was a five-year-old Christian in a divided household. My husband was unwilling to tithe, even though our business was run in my name. However, I did so with the housekeeping money.
Work was slack, pantry supplies were dwindling, and the shopping list was growing till I estimated I would need at least $40 to cover it. I also had an urgent need for three metres of flannelette and two cans of evaporated milk to complete a three-year set of primary Sabbath school illustrations.
When a small job did come our way, only $15 was left for our household needs, and after tithe and offerings and some fresh milk and bread were deducted, the shopping list was savagely pruned. But in the back of my mind a struggle was taking place between the needs of my family, including our five children, and my Sabbath school requirements. Although I knew I could reclaim the Sabbath school expenses on production of the receipts, I also knew such a claim would take some time to process.
As I drove to town next day, the mental battle was still in progress. Traffic was unusually heavy and I circled the main blocks of town a couple of times before I found a parking spot. As I switched off the ignition I looked up to see in the shop window a sign that read, "Special! Flannelette, 60 cents per metre!"
A feeling of peace came over me and I went in and bought the material. At the shopping centre the first thing to confront me through the checkout was a bin of evaporated milk cans, also on special at 10 cents a can. So two cans went into the trolley.
From necessity, I usually kept a mental tally of the goods I bought so as not to be embarrassed at the checkout, but that day I simply bought what was on the list and received enough small change for some more milk and bread.
Working with such a small amount, any overpayment or underpayment would have been quite easy to spot--certainly $2 worth, which was the cost of the Sabbath school materials. But when everything was added up, checked and double-checked against the checkout dockets and remaining change, there was no doubt I had spent $2 more than I started out with.
Later our church pastor told me, "Sometimes God's arithmetic defies logic." I could have claimed the refund but did not do so because I believe God honoured His promise to me that day and indeed supplied all my needs--as He has always done--through His riches in Christ Jesus. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19. Honor Fox lives in Invercargill, New Zealand.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God