Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

The Big Decision

A Character story about generosity.

"Mom, guess what!" Becky shouted as she burst through the door on Saturday morning.
"It must be awfully exciting," her mother responded, looking up from the sink.
"Oh, it is! It is! I got a letter from Grandma and she put $25 in it for my birthday! You know what that means? That was exactly the amount of money I was praying for to put in the missionary offering tomorrow for the Spanish Bibles!"
"You mean you're going to give all your birthday money for the missions project?"
"Sure, why not? What could be more important? Remember what Mr. Locke told us? He said that lots of people could learn about God through just one Bible."
"Well, that's very generous of you," her mother said with a smile, giving Becky a big hug. "Many children could think of a hundred things to buy themselves with that money. I'm proud of you for wanting to put the Lord and others first. Now you better put it in a safe place so you'll have it for Sunday school tomorrow."
"I'm going to put it in my purse right now so I know where it is tomorrow."
Just as Becky finished her lunch the phone rang. "Hi, Jennifer. . . .Nothing much. What did you have in mind?. . . . Sounds great. I'll ask mom." Becky held her hand over the mouthpiece and said, "Mom, is it all right if I go with Jennifer and her mom to the mall for a while. I won't be gone long."
"Sure. I'll even give you a little something in case you want an ice cream."
"Thanks, Mom. You're super. Yeah, I can go, Jennifer. I'll be ready in ten minutes."
While Jennifer's mother got groceries, the two girls wandered in and out of stores, eying the latest fashions. "Oh, Jennifer, I had the most wonderful answer to prayer today," Becky announced as they entered a girls' shop.
"Really? What was it? Oh, look at this. This skirt is marked down to $20. And it's just your size, Becky. Too bad you couldn't get it."
"Yeah," Becky sighed, as she eyed the beautiful plaid pattern. Just then she thought of the $25 in her purse. It would be enough for the skirt, and I would still have some left for a small offering, she thought. It would be so beautiful. Maybe that's why the Lord provided this money just this morning.
"Oh, yeah, sorry I interrupted," Jennifer apologized. "What was the answer to prayer you got?"
"Oh, ah, I'll tell you later. We better get out of this store. It's too tempting."
A few minutes later, the girls arrived at the ice cream store. "Hey, let's get a cone," Becky suggested.
"You go ahead. I don't have any money. Mother said I should just look today and not to ask for anything."
"That's O.K. I'll treat. Mom gave me some money for a cone when you called."
"Wow, thanks!" Jennifer grinned. The girls entered the shop and eyed the myriad of flavors. Then Becky noticed the price. She had enough for one cone, but not two. Before she could decide what to do, Jennifer was ordering. "I'll take two scoops of peanut brittle," she said politely. "Your turn, Becky."
Becky sighed. "One scoop of tangerine, please."
"Thanks for the treat," Jennifer said as she licked the sides of the ice cream. "This is my favorite, but most of the time it's too expensive even for one dip."
"I know what you mean," Becky returned, forcing a smile. Now she knew she wouldn't have $25 to give in the morning.
As the girls headed back toward the grocery store, Becky glanced at a store window, then meandered through the crowd to get a closer look. "What did you see?" Jennifer asked.
"My sister Judy really needs a sweater. She has asked the family for the last week to pray with her that she could get one under $25. That green sweater would perfectly match the skirt she got for Christmas, and it was marked down to only $15. It would mean so much to her if I got it for her."
"Well, if you have the money, why don't you get it then?" Jennifer suggested.
"Well, because. . . because the money I have was promised for something else."
"Maybe you could get it for her, and then she could pay you back."
"She probably would do that, but then it wouldn't be a gift. I just know it's exactly what she's been praying for, but . . . oh, I don't know what to do."
"Why don't you pray about it," Jennifer suggested. "I'm sure God will show you what to do."
The two girls sat down on a bench, away from the crowd, and Becky prayed a simple prayer, asking God for wisdom. When she finished, she turned to Jennifer and said, "I'm not sure why, but I think I should buy it. I thought this money was an answer to prayer for one thing, but at least this amount I think is for my sister."
That evening, Judy had tears of joy as she hugged the sweater, and then her sister. "It's just what I've been praying for. In fact, it's more perfect than I dared to imagine. What a wonderful sister you are, to use your own birthday money to provide an answer to prayer for someone else!"
Later, Becky told her mother all the details of the afternoon. "Now I'll only have a little to give tomorrow, yet, for some reason, I don't feel bad about it."
Her mother put her arm around Becky. "Honey," she said, "the reason is because you used the money to be a blessing to others. When you were tempted to use it for yourself, you refused. But God prompted you to use it for others, and you obeyed. Jesus tells us that, at His coming, He will bless those who have been kind to 'one of the least of these my brethren.' And He said when we reach out to be a blessing to someone else in need, we are doing it for Him as well."
"Wow," Becky beamed, "that means I gave an ice cream and sweater to Jesus too."

You can read this story in Matthew 25:31-46. What can you do for Jesus today?