A Lesson in Giving

By Chris Bunton

I was in prison.

Most stories end that way, but not this one. It was actually the beginning of my life. A new life. A new start.

In prison we can go to the commissary and buy things. When I say “go to the commissary, I mean we can stand in line while someone behind a cage fills an order you gave them on a sheet of paper. The types things you can purchase includes hygiene items, clothes, snacks, and some basic electronics. It’s just basic stuff, but if you don’t have it, things get miserable pretty fast.

For example, a fan. If you do not have a fan, then you are in a world of hurt when summer comes, and you are sweltering in a cinder block building with no AC.

Extra food, like ramen noodles are a necessity. They only feed you enough calories to be legal. It’s probably around 1200 calories a day. They even know how much toilet paper to give you to match the food they give you. One roll a week. So, you must supplement your diet with food from the store, such as noodles. If not, then you go to bed hungry every night, and get up before dark to go eat farina and scrambled eggs. I had never even heard of farina, till prison. And I had never dreamed of eating cooked cabbage. Especially, three times a week. But, now I love both.

Anyway, there were lots of guys in the cells around me who did not have the things they needed because their families did not send them money or they had alienated everyone. So, I would obtain things and give them away to help these people. God provided and I gave.

It was illegal in prison to give things away. We had to keep it hid. Because the guards would assume you were paying for something like, Gambling debts, drugs, or some other activity.

Jesus said “Give to any who ask, and from him, who seeks to borrow, turn not away.” So, I tried to do that. I gave and helped, and it was never a problem. God always had what was needed for me to give. Sometimes, it was quite specific. I would obtain an item, and within a few days someone would need it and I would give it. It was like a river flowing.

One time I had helped some people out, and it was a few days till we could go to the store. I was running very low on supplies, when a guy I knew asked for a couple of packages of noodles. If I gave it to him then I would be without for days. That means I’d be hungry every night. I was about to tell him no. Then the Lord brought the verse “Give to any who ask, and from him who seeks to borrow, turn not away;” to my mind.

So, I argued.

“Lord, if I give it to him, then I’ll have nothing, and I will be hungry.” 

To which I felt the answer was.

“Then, you won’t have to worry about giving anything any more.”

This was true.

You don’t have to worry about giving, when you have nothing to give. It’s a freedom of sorts. Beside’s I felt a distinct impression that God would take care of me.

So, I gave it.

This was in the afternoon.

When it came time to go to chow for dinner, I went to the chow hall. It’s a big room full of round metal picnic tables bolted to the floor. They will seat 4 people per table.

You eat your food fast, because when they say it’s time to go, you go. So, I’m eating my meal when the man next to me says,

“You want this?’ he pointed at his tray.

“Sure.” So I took it and ate,

Then, the other two guys at the table said the same thing.

So, that evening, I got 4 meals. I was not hungry when I went to bed.

For 3 days, this happened. Every evening I would get 4 meals from different people who for whatever reason were not hungry. And I went to bed full. I did not need to eat anything extra.

After 3 days, we went to the store and I purchased my stuff. That evening, the extra meals ended, because I had the items I needed.

God took care of me. And I learned something about giving.

You can never out give God. He will take care of you. If you give, God will give back. You can trust Him. If someone is asking you for something; then God has sent them to you for a reason. It’s not an accident. If you have it or can help get it, then give it.

I had a lawyer friend tell me, “But, if you give to everyone who asks, you will go broke.”

That has not been my experience. God stops sending people, or He provides.

And if you have given everything away, then you don’t have to worry about giving anymore, you can honestly say.

“I don’t have it.”

But, God will bring it back. Ten times over. Fear not. Just trust God.

2 thoughts on “A Lesson in Giving

  1. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. I have experienced the same results of which you shared in my own life, so I can attest to its truth.

    Not a lesson in giving, but receiving and being provided for…. Many years ago, in 2001, I went through a period where I had no money and no food. We (my husband at the time) got down to one can of veggies in the cupboard. We ate it for dinner and went to bed. The next day I opened the cupboard, there was one can of veggies. Again, we ate. This happened night after night for nearly two weeks. Each day there was one can of veggies in the cupboard in the evening. God always provides.

    Liked by 1 person

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