When God Sends an Invoice

“…And Give to God what Belongs to God.” from Matthew 22:21
I’ve shared many tales demonstrating our awareness of God’s protection, His guidance, His comfort, and His encouragement. Sometimes we spot Him in a different way. Every now and then, He taps us on the shoulder and clears His throat, so to speak, to remind us of our obligations to Him.

In early 2008 we found ourselves in a bit of a financial pinch; some unexpected turns and uncalculated expenses brought us to a snug spot in our budget. We spent a few evenings reviewing the spreadsheet, the bank accounts, and the anticipated expenses ahead, and praying on the dilemma. We then decided to offer for sale my half interest in some acreage I owned in the Mojave desert.

The agent I engaged to list the property cautioned me that a half interest would be difficult to sell. I set a bargain price, accordingly. I had bought the property for a stunningly low price four years earlier, so even my fire-sale price would net us a profit of nearly ten times the initial investment. Finding a buyer at all seemed like a longshot, though. Would you buy into a property in the desert knowing the other half owner was someone you’d never met? That’s what we were asking of a buyer.

So you might imagine my astonishment when my agent called just two weeks later to announce she had an offer for us. Off into escrow we went. It proceeded as escrows will. A few challenges emerged during the process, but in due time all the requirements of the contract were met and I received notification that the sales proceeds had been wired into our bank account and would be credited the following morning.

The next day–the next day!–we received a notice from our church that a $4,200 balance remained outstanding on our previous pledge to the church’s building fund.

I was mystified. While I was single, I had made a modest pledge to that building fund and I had paid it. Had the church accounting office made a mistake? After some thought, my husband Rich remembered that he and his former wife had made a substantial pledge to that fund some years earlier when the project began. He understood that it had been paid.

Apparently not.

We looked at one another. “We should pay it,” Rich said. I nodded.

The next morning, with glad hearts, we mailed a check for $4,200 to our church.

4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no
pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed— 5 Better not to vow than
to vow and not pay.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 (NKJV)