Journey of Abundance, Day 9

corn2I really enjoy receiving gift cards.  I am in such a practical phase of life that gift cards are a kind of fun and frivolous experience for me.  Even when I get a grocery store gift card, I use it to buy what I would have bought anyway…plus a little something extra–maybe fresh fruit out-of-season, a bag of frozen salmon, really good cheese, something special.  With our $300-a-month grocery budget, these things are real treats for us.  It’s fun!

As much as I enjoy getting gift cards, I do not like buying gifts cards.  Most of the time, you get exactly what you pay for in a gift card.  I like to get a good deal, and I’m a fairly good shopper, so I can usually get a bigger bang for my buck if I shop for a specific item instead of a gift card.

In the past year, I have been coming around to buying gift cards for a couple of reasons.  One, they’re really, really easy to tuck into a card and mail.  Two, pretty much everybody likes them.  When I have a little bit of “mad money”, I buy a gift card and send it to someone for no good reason.  Sometimes, I do this as a thank-you.  More often, I do it just because.  And, oftentimes I send it anonymously.  Then, no one feels obligated to return the favor, and I get to go through my days with a secret-knowing smile in my heart.

When I was at Johnson Bible College (now Johnson University) a blue million years ago, I was broke like almost every other student in attendance.  My husband and I practically subsisted on rice and beans and frozen vegetables, and I worked full-time between two jobs while taking a full load of classes.  I had a few scholarships, and my mom helped out with what she could, but I was responsible for the rest.  (By the way, I’m not complaining about this.  It was my education, and I know no reason why someone else should pay for it.)  I remember returning from the registrar’s office after learning that someone had anonymously put a sizable chunk of money on my account.  I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was a lot to me at the time.  The gratitude and humility I still feel toward that person is undiminished.  I have thanked God for and asked His provision and protection over that person many, many times in the past twenty years.  I have shared the story of their generosity with my children and even in some of the classes I teach.  I hope they know how encouraging their gift was.

I am not always in a position to credit someone’s account with a few hundred dollars, but I am in a position to live generously.  Most of us are.  We live in a society that pays money to wash their cars, color their hair, tattoo their bodies and wax their bikini areas.  We certainly have money to live generously.

Challenge:  Buy a gift card and send it to someone anonymously.  Go one step further by attaching a note with reasons why you appreciate them.

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