One of the first ideas that I was taught when I enter this new way of life was “You Have To Give It Away To Keep It.” John made this a requirement for me to do if he was going to help me. To start I reluctantly started to help other people who were newer than myself. What I was to do was only tell them what I had done to get where I was. If I had not done something I could not tell them anything no matter how much it could help them. He said that if I had not gone through it, even though you had seen it work in another’s life. There would always be some little important thing that you did not know to tell them. This crucial item may kill them.
Today I understand how this could happen. Back then I just did it because I trusted John. It also motivated me to keep moving ahead with my assignments.
One assignment came to me in a phrase that I could not get out of my head. “You have to give it away to keep it”. It was the middle of July and I am sitting in my office. I was sitting there because I had no work. This is bad news for a roofer in the summertime. I am looking at a pile of bills that are backing up. I am thinking this is going to be one year. If I have no work in the good months, what is the winter going to be like.
This is when the thought came to me. “You have to give it away to keep it”. I tried to change the thought, for I understood how it worked in Alcoholics Anonymous. But this was my finances. I had not completely understood “practice these principles in all my affairs” meant. No matter how I tried I could not get rid of the thought. The rest of the day it just kept coming back. The next day I am back at my desk. Overwhelmed, the thought comes back. “You have to give it away to keep it”. I tell God that I understand that to stay sober I need to do that. But this is my money. Then God repeated “You have to give it away to keep it”. I fought this hard for a couple of days. Always explaining to God how he needed to give me something that would help me pay my bills. God just kept saying “You have to give it away to keep it”. It was driving me nuts. God told me “you have a $100 in your pocket”. Finally I said “Okay! I will get rid of this money. Then you can tell me what to do to get some work”.
I went to the gas station and filled up my gas tank. I had $60 left. That was deposited in the bank. Back in my office I write out 2 checks. I to Catholic Charity’s and the other to the Allentown Rescue Mission. I had learned enough about my self to know that I needed to take them to a drop box that once the envelope was inside it was done. Because if I put it in my mailbox, I would talk myself out of doing something so foolish. I drove to a mailbox dropped it in. My heart dropped as the enveloped dropped in the mailbox.
I drove back to my office explaining to God how I had given away all my money. Now let’s get on with my real issue of paying my bills. God is saying nothing to me. No sooner I sit in my chair the phone rings. A gentleman tells me he has some work and wants to know if I have time to do it. He told me what he needed done. I said “sure, I will come out and give you a price”. He said “I know what I am going to pay you. I just need to know if you will do the work”. My thought was that is not how it is done. He then told me what he was going to pay me. I said “sure”. For it was way more than I would have told him. I told him I needed to do a few things and would call him back when I could start.
I had a concrete job which I was capable of doing. I just needed to find some help. I was feeling good. I was going to go home for the day. I look my office door. Turn to walk down the steps to my truck. My friend Dan pulls up in his company’s work truck with his helper. Dan said “we just got laid off. My boss told me to take the truck and all the concrete tools with him. If he found any side work he was welcome to use the truck and the tools to do the work”. His boss did not want Dan looking for another job. I told Dan I just got a concrete job to do.
Here it was not even an hour since I dropped the money in the mailbox and I had work and the means to do the work. God worked fast.
It is now September and I am checking the mail. I open up my bills. All my bills have a negative balance. I did not know you could do that. I was 40 years old and barely paid bills on time yet alone ahead. You need to know how I paid my bills at that time. When a bill came I opened it up looked at it and put it on top of the stack of other bills that were not paid. We finished the concrete job. I deposited the money and paid my bills till there was no money. The work just kept coming in. I kept Dan and his helper busy. When a job was done, I would deposit the check and pay bills. I never realized that I was paying bills 2 or 3 times. I just took the next bill off the stack and paid it. Since I had not paid a bill in a couple of months there were multiple bills in the stack.
You can sow your way out of any trouble that you are in. Whatever you have that can be useful to someone else give it to them. If you have time give it. You reap what you sow. So start sowing into your future. God will give you a harvest that you will have way more than you need. Just do not make the mistake of telling God that you do not want anything in return for what you are giving. Because then he can not repay you for what you are doing to help his other kids.