This testimony is found in my Power Praying book and will also be in the new book “Are You There? It’s Me—God!” about to be published next year. It is about how God speaks “exactly”.
I had just graduated from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. There were two wonderful friends named Derek and Deb—and we had spoken many a time about their desire to go overseas for mission work.
Well, just a few weeks after graduation, a series of events came together, and it involved these two people. I had been attending three different groups for my learning, a Thursday night small group, an InterVarsity Bible study at university, and on Friday evenings, a Prayer and Praise at a mainline Church. As it turned out, in a single week, all three groups wound up teaching on exactly the same topic--tithing.
Tithing is where you give the first 10% of your income to the Lord for his kingdom work. Well, I had never heard of this. Why would God need my money? I needed to eat, not Him. I was thinking that very thought when the subject showed up on the Thursday study. Someone asked if I practiced the tithe.
My response was “Well, no—I hadn’t heard of it.”
Then he said, “What are you going to do with the Lord’s money—eat it?”
Actually, the real issue was that I was a cheap skate, a true tightwad, obnoxiously thrifty in every respect, and didn’t want to give anything to anyone…
That led to one of those deep conversations where one ponders a question, digs into the Bible, and attempts to find an answer. Well, the answer came. Giving and receiving is a spiritual practice intended to bless both the receiver and the giver.
The one who gives discovers that he or she cannot out-give God.
The next week, I went to the InterVarsity study after that and the topic was—“tithing”. We wound up spending several weeks on the subject.
Next I went to the prayer and praise; there were 3 testimonies of how someone who had never done this before had started to give the first ten percent away and of how God ordered each of their lives differently as a result.
It blessed them to give.
Well, I was a student in a minimum wage job. I had taught music on weekends too. After hearing of this the third time, with more than a bit of reluctance, “tightwad David” started to put ten percent away in a jar, each time I was paid. Soon, the total got to $120.00—not much, but enough to start giving. This is where Derek and Deb fit in.
I knelt down to pray in my bedroom at about 4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon.
As soon as I knelt, Derek and Deb popped into my head. I “felt” something—a yearning? a prompting? I had no language to describe it. An idea became a feeling which turned into a settled conviction. What it boiled down to was that I actually wanted to give them some of that little fund. I didn’t want to give it all away but felt that most should be handed over to them. So, I said, “Lord, how much do you want me to give to them? $110.00?”
As soon as I named the number, my interior peace diminished. It was strange—a combo of “peace-in-asking” and “favor-withheld” because the number was wrong. I wondered if the “cheap-skate” in me was at work. Rather than increase the tally, there was a sense that I should lower the number and try again.
“How about $109.00?”
My heart grew more peaceful, but it was still unsettled. “Try again.”
“Lord should I give them $108.00?”
Suddenly my heart leapt within! I jumped to my feet, filled with the conviction that I must give Derek and Deb $108.00 in cash. So, I put the money in an envelope, wrote their names on the cover and put a Scripture on a 3 x 5 card:
“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:19 NASB
That evening, I went over to their rental unit. It was just past dusk. As it turned out, their porch light was burned out; the mailbox was just visible, but the approach was obscured in shadow. The closer I got to their home the harder my heart pounded. I got excited! Exhilaration filled my heart the closer I got! (Since I had been such a parsimonious cheap-skate, it had to be God!) I shoved the envelope in their box, just about burst with giddy laughter, and scurried away unseen.
A week passed.
Then another week passed.
Then I got curious.
So, I decided to take a walk near their row house apartment (I used to walk that way from time to time). But I deliberately slowed down as I got close by, hoping that either Derek or Deb would invite me in.
It didn’t take long.
As I was going by, Derek was just outside, and he beckoned me in. He said, “David! Have I got news for you! Then he quoted the text in the envelope! “Our God is supplying our needs according to his riches in glory!”
“Really?” I said smugly (it was on the borders of an obnoxious smugness). “What do you mean?”
“About two weeks ago,” he said, “On a Friday at 4:00 in the afternoon, Deb and I were home, trying to figure out how we could get to south-east Asia. I was short two courses for my degree. We decided that I should finish before we travelled. One was offered this spring. The only trouble was that we had to pay for the course on Monday.”
“So, what was the problem?” I asked.
“Well, we were going to get paid on Wednesday, but the total was due on the Monday before.” said Derek.
“The course was $158.00, and all we had in the bank was $50.00…”
I am sure my jaw dropped.
“We had plenty of food at home,” he said, “and we had gas in the car, but no extra. Both of our parents were away, and so we couldn’t ask them. Deb and I were convinced we needed to finish this out, so we knelt down and prayed that God would send us $108.00 in cash by Monday morning.”
My eyes fixed on Derek’s as the account unfolded.
Derek continued, “We spent the weekend seeking God about it. We prayed on Saturday and Sunday. Finally, on Monday morning I got a strong sense inside that God had answered and that we would have the money. I made out the check, and, as I was getting into the car, we checked the mailbox. Inside was an envelope with this Scripture and $108.00 in cash! Whoever it was spelt my wife’s name wrong (LOL)—but got the money right.”
I was in awe.
At the very moment Derek and Deb were asking for $108.00, on a Friday at 4:00 in the afternoon, God was telling me by His increasing and diminishing Presence to give the exact amount to my two friends. We laughed and celebrated together.
It was the exactness of that event that forever changed me. It was a defining moment—one in which I learned that God does in fact give exact guidance in real time.
I didn’t tell them that day. Two years later, when they needed to hear, I did tell them, because it was clear that the Lord wanted them to know.
© David Chotka 2020