My friend Rosemary was newly divorced and
overwhelmed by the awesome responsibility of raising two
daughters alone. There were many weeks when she had less
than fifty dollars to her name.
At Easter time Rosemary's
daughter Theresa discovered a pea-sized lump on her
collarbone. Tests showed a Hodgkin's disease tumor
filling forty-percent of her chest cavity.
In addition to the terror of
watching Theresa suffer, Rosemary was also distraught
over the enormous medical bills piling up. The hospital
needs a fifteen-- hundred-dollar payment.
A few weeks later, quite
unexpectedly, Rosemary was named "Employee of the Year"
at work and received a prize of fifteen hundred dollars:
exactly the amount she needed. What a stroke of luck!
At church that Sunday an
overpowering inner voice was so loud and clear she shook
her head to make sure she wasn't dreaming. The voice
said, "Give Maggie a hundred dollars."
"What?" Rosemary demanded a
"Give Maggie a hundred
"Maggie? The Maggie whose job
I took over when she quit at work? She was the only
Maggie Rosemary knew. "Why does this woman need me to
give her a hundred dollars?" Rosemary asked the voice.
"I'm the one struggling financially! At least Maggie has
a husband to help her."
Rosemary thought about her
recent windfall. After tithing and paying taxes on it,
the amount she actually cleared from that prize was less
than a thousand dollars— not even enough to cover the
hospital payment. And now someone—was it God Himself?
Rosemary wondered—was asking her to give a hundred
dollars to a woman she hardly knew.
"This is ridiculous," she
said to herself. " Why, it's total fiscal
At home that afternoon
Rosemary kept hearing the voice, "Give Maggie a hundred
She dug deep into her faith
reserve and remembered the verse from Matthew 28:20 that
says, "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of
Rosemary thought back to the
last few months of Theresa's struggle with Hodgkin's
disease. By now she was well on the road to recovery.
She hadn't even gotten sick from the chemotherapy. Yes,
God had been with them throughout the whole ordeal, but
Rosemary also knew that God doesn't ask for paybacks.
It didn't make sense, but she
reached for her checkbook. Shaking and sweating she
wrote the check and mailed it to Maggie. A week later
Maggie stood on Rosemary's doorstep. Smiling, Maggie
handed the check back. "I can't accept this, Rosemary.
But I want you to know that you certainly did God's work
when you sent it. My husband was getting so bitter about
God and religion. He was so touched by your generosity;
he's acting like a whole new person. Thank you so much,"
she beamed as she pressed the hundred-dollar check back
into Rosemary's hand.
The next Sunday Rosemary
tithed an extra ten dollars for the hundred dollars
Maggie had give back to her. On Monday, Rosemary
received a check in the mail from her Aunt Joey for a
hundred dollars for no particular reason…something her
aunt had never done before.
On Tuesday, Rosemary tithed
ten dollars of that money to the church.
On Friday she received a
hundred-dollar check in the mail from her good friend
Sharon, who enclosed a note that said simply, "I'm sure
you can use this." Sharon had never done such a thing
That's when it hit Rosemary
square in the eye. "When God asked me to give Maggie a
hundred dollars for no apparent reason, I'd listened, a
bit grudgingly, I'll admit. Was it a test, like when God
instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son?
And just as God had spared Isaac at the last minute, he
spared me by bringing that hundred dollars back to me
three times in six days!"
Several years later,
Rosemary's finances were again extremely grim. Her older
daughter Claire was getting ready to go back to college,
and Rosemary was frantic over how she would come up with
the money for her tuition. In faith, she reluctantly
sold some antique jewelry that had been given to her
The next Sunday Rosemary
slipped into the pew next to Margaret, a struggling
single parent. The familiar inner voice said, "Give a
hundred dollars to Margaret.'"
Rosemary almost wailed out
loud, "Now just a minute! I took a loss on the jewelry
when I sold it, because I have faith in You! And You're
still asking me to give Margaret a hundred
Rosemary knew it was useless
to argue. 'The world says 'hang onto your money.' But
sometimes God says, 'give it away.'" She gave Margaret a
Within five days the bank
suddenly approved an "iffy" college loan toward Claire's
And the following week
Rosemary received a generous and quite unexpected raise
The next week in church
she quieted herself and prepared to "listen" to what God
had in mind for her now—more out of curiosity at the
absurdity of it all than eagerness. Within a few minutes
she was directed to give another struggling single
parent whom she barely knew a hundred-fifty
dollars. This time there was no, "Aw, come on,
God, You've got to be kidding!" But by this time she was
a believer. She'd been taught over and over that if she
just put out seedling effort, God returns His bounty in
From: Chicken Soup for
the Christian Woman’s