A few weeks before last Christmas, I was meeting with David Spencer, my partner in the Church Planting Ministry in Eastern Kentucky. He brought along one of the young men who has joined our work in Eastern Kentucky. The area where we work has been designated as one of the poorest and hardest places in the United States to live. This young man left a successful contracting business to come to the hills to answer God’s call on his life. He moved to the area with his wife and two young daughters, ages nine and four. Courageously, this couple was willing to face an uncertain financial future and accompanying hardships to serve the people of Eastern Kentucky. Times had been hard for the family. Remodeling an old farmhouse around his part time work was time-consuming. Trying to provide a warm, comfortable home for the family was also costly and stressful.
As the three of us were discussing the ministry, this young man received a phone call from his wife. She was at Wal-Mart in a near by-town. Although I didn’t want to eavesdrop, I could hear one side of the conversation and I sort of filled in the other side. Because it was near Christmas, his wife was looking at some of the things the girls wanted. She had located a pink guitar the nine-year old daughter really wanted and blue “Frozen” snow boots for the younger girl. I surmised she wanted to know if they could afford the guitar and boots. He dropped his head and, softly and sadly, said, “No.”
At home later in the day, I shared the situation with my wife and daughter Lori. She was visiting us for Christmas from her South Africa home. Lori is a retired school principal. For many years, she had led our family in spending Christmas money on needy families in her school rather than buying things we really didn’t need. She was moved as I shared and she decreed that the girls would have a merry Christmas. A contact with the family yielded a ‘want’ list for the girls. We also found out a few things that the young parents could use.
With joy, my daughter and our family went Christmas shopping. It had been a while since we have had the delight of shopping for young children. Lori was on a ‘mission’. She searched, bought, and wrapped gifts in a quantity that was “exceedingly abundantly above” the list. I am sure we were more excited for Christmas morning to come than the unsuspecting children. While we were celebrating the Lord’s birthday, once again we heard “the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive” Acts 20:35 (NKJV). The Gospel Mark shares other heart stirring words of Jesus in Mark 10:13-14 (NKJV): “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when He saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of God.”
I realize that we must keep in mind the vast difference between wants and needs. I do know that God’s word promises that He will supply our needs not our wants. But I also believe He is pleased from time to time to do something above and beyond needs. For example, He surely must have smiled knowing that two little girls in Eastern Kentucky received “a pink guitar and a pair of blue snow boots” for Christmas.
“No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11b, NKJV)
~ Brother Roy