If I tell you I was happy when computers came in and typewriters went out, you'll easily guess my age. So I won't. I wish I couldn't tell you that computers made a huge difference when I typed long essays and needed to make only a few changes, but the truth be told, they did! Then again, my story is not about typing. It is about computers.
We purchased our first computer in the Philippines, where both my husband and I were studying for our master's degrees. Then we were called to work in Australia to pastor two country churches. Even though we were publishing a very interesting weekly newsletter--even if I say so myself (you can ask our church members and they'll verify this!)--we felt we didn't need the computer anymore.
It was a pity for it to just lie there almost unused. Yet we did not feel comfortable selling it either. However, a computer being quite a big investment, we wondered what to do with it. Finally, we decided to give it to our local conference so they could use it wherever it was needed the most.
Did I just say, "give it"? Yes, just give it. No strings attached, no payment, nothing. Not even a subtle indication for a desired transfer to another church. I believe the conference passed it on to a school.
After our first four years in rural churches were over, we were assigned to a much larger city church. Or, should I say my husband was assigned to the new church? But I did most of the typing! Did I also say this is not about typing? Sorry, I'm certainly getting off the track here . . .
Now we really needed a computer, and couldn't afford one on just a single salary with two kids, a car and phone--you know how it goes. While chatting with some of our church members, one of them asked us what kind of computer we needed. When we told him, he said he would give us one. Give us one? Yes, give us one. No cost. I couldn't believe my ears! We didn't know that he was a computer dealer. He had several second-hand computers from customers who traded-in theirs, and he was willing to give us one. No strings attached, no payment, nothing. Not even a subtle suggestion of a desired church position.
This computer was much better than the first one we gave away-- and definitely better than what we needed. Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Ecclesiastes 11:1. Daniela Schubert is a theology lecturer at Pacific Adventist University, near Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
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