Monday, July 15, 2013

"I Will Bless Those Who Bless You" - Some Fiscal Fun

From time to time I share a story about how God sends me a little financial help. This time it was a rather large dose of help: after 10 years, it was time to get a new car.  I was doing comparison shopping online and thought I had it narrowed down to the car I wanted.  Before I met with the salesman the following morning however, I wanted to ask my brother-in-law, a car salesman, some tips on negotiating a fair price.  (The cars my brother-in-law sells were a little more than I thought I could afford, so that's why I had not approached him to make the purchase.)  He was great; he told me what price I should insist upon for my trade-in as well as how low the other salesman should be able to go.  But then he said, "What if I could get you a 2013 Toyota Corolla for that same price; would you be interested?"  Now, we were talking a couple of thousand off - selling the car to me at cost - and with the way Toyotas hold their value, it would help me out years down the line when I went for my next car too.  When I said "yes," he jumped on the phone with his manager and started working on a deal.  

The following afternoon I was at the dealership with him, looking at
a few of the Corollas he could give me a deal on.  I had been wanting a car in white for awhile (it's my favorite color), so when I settled on it, he went in to start the paperwork.  He got me the car, at cost, with 0% financing for 60 months.  My prayer as I drove away was that the Lord had 1) given me the most reliable Toyota ever constructed, and 2) that He would bless my brother-in-law for his incredible generosity toward me.  Now hold on, because the story gets even better!

The next night, when we all got together at my parent's house for dinner, I was thanking my brother-in-law again for the amazing deal he was able to put together for me when he shared that it had actually worked out amazingly well for him too:  The car that I picked out, completely unbeknownst to my brother-in-law, had sat on the lot longer than any other car.  Somehow over the past several months, people continually bought the Corollas sitting all around it, without ever selecting this particular car.  Well, the dealership has this ongoing reward for the salesperson who sells the oldest car on the lot - my brother-in-law walked away with a $650 commission, something he should earn for selling a car at $2000 over cost!

Wow - that sure seems like the Lord had a hand in this.  I was immediately reminded of God's promise to Abraham, "I will bless those who bless you" (Gen 12:3).  Please don't take me for one of those "health and wealth Gospel" types; because I am most assuredly not.  I don't believe in donating money as a way of forcing God to return ten times as much to you - that's drivel.  But I do know that from time-to-time, God returns the kindness shown to one of His children.  I think that's what happened to my brother-in-law, and I hope he recognizes it as such.  Today's Gospel reading has some other words from Jesus about the care we show one another:
"Whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives the One Who sent Me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple--amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward." ~ Mt 10:41-42
But His penultimate promise comes at the end of Matthew's Gospel, when Jesus spoke of the Judgment:
"Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
 ~ Mt 25:34-40

So let us continue to express our love for one another because when we do, we express love for our King.  We don't do it to try and earn some kind of "payment," but every once in awhile we have these funny stories to share about the way He returns a favor.

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