Proverbs 16:20 says, “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” I feel like this pretty much sums up Proverbs, a book overflowing with godly wisdom and instruction. Throughout my 32 years I’ve seen a few different ways to give heed to instruction: through God’s word, people, and through life’s circumstances. I had just that opportunity this week, to learn through a not-so-fun mishap.
We recently had a slight location change to Bethel, Alaska, and our cars were among the many items that did not make the move with us. Thus, it was highly important to find transportation quickly. Two days after our arrival an awesome couple heard our plight, stopped us on the side of the road, and offered us their extra vehicle. We were pretty speechless but we managed to say, “Heck yeah, we’ll take it!”
Bethel is pretty cold. Alright, it is very cold. We are talking a -50 wind-chill last week. Brrrrrrrr. Between snow and the frigid temps, ice tends to accumulate on the roads. I’m learning it’s not uncommon for accidents to occur due to said ice. And now, I am one of those accidents.
It wasn’t anything major. I wasn’t going fast, just making a routine right turn. Near the end of the turn I hit some ice and no amount of steering or braking would keep me front plowing ahead into the other vehicle. Naturally, I was pretty upset – this wasn’t my car. But, we would make the necessary arrangements with my car insurance and get both cars back into shape in no time.
Then came the bomb.
In case you didn’t know how insurance works when you borrow a car, let me enlighten you. Insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. So, my friend’s insurance company would be paying for my accident.
I pretty much broke down and cried. I got on my knees in the kitchen and prayed and prayed. How was I to tell my friends what I had done? They were simply being the hands and feet of Jesus to us; they were giving of themselves to love and serve us. And what did I do in return? I sent them an insurance bill and higher premium. Ugh.
My husband offered to make the call to our friends but I couldn’t let him do it. It was my responsibility; I needed to tell them myself. As I stumbled through my words and held my breath for their response, you know what happened? They extended grace. Like, are you for real grace? They even apologized that it happened in their car. What the what?!?!? They’re believers so I expected them to be nice. But at the same time, I expected them to be kinda taken aback. It was as if this didn’t faze them at all.
This amazing, God-sent couple has taught me so much. I’ve learned a thing or two about generosity.
Proverbs 3:27 and 28 says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow – when you now have it with you.”
These people did not even know us when they offered us their car. Y’all, we were strangers! How often do I withhold from others because I am too busy or money’s too tight or fill in the blank?
I’ve also learned the power of extending grace. Guys, I so didn’t deserve grace. Sure, I didn’t maliciously damage their car, but I damaged it nevertheless. How often do I withhold grace from others? God has granted me more grace than I could ever imagine, yet why am I so reluctant to freely grant grace to those who have wronged me?
It is not coincidence that I am learning these lessons while God is reminding me in Proverbs to heed instruction. I do not want to learn this lesson again. Like, ever.
My prayer for my friends has been Proverbs 11: 24-25
“One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
May you and I be like my friends.
May we give generously of ourselves, our time, and our possessions.
May we give grace generously too.
May we do this to bring glory to the Father, to gain even more than what we freely give away, and to be refreshed.