Erik and Bridget Martin

Providence Not Punishment!

“Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came, and put two copper coins, which make a penny. And He called His disciples to Him and said to them ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living’”.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at an XLT in Montgomery at the Church of the Holy Spirit, my old parish, where two other youth groups joined us, St Bedes and Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It was there that this past Sunday’s gospel message came alive.

After the night was over, the youth minister made an announcement that I was a missionary and survive on God’s providence and the generosity of others joining the mission.  A basket was placed near the exit and I was blown away at the number of teens that either gave me money directly or placed money in the basket.  Truly I say to you, they had contributed much more than all those who have contributed to me out of their abundance.  Neither they nor I realized what kind of blessing this would turn out to be.

The next morning I had gathered all the money minus some of the change and placed it in my pocket and headed back to Covecrest. About halfway, I started to get hungry and figured it would be a good time to use the restroom, so I started exiting the freeway when I heard something pop in my tire.  When I stopped I got out and watched all the air quickly deplete out of my rear tire. My tires had been worn so thin that one of the outer treads popped and came unraveled.

So I went to the bathroom, then got something to eat and proceeded to chang my tire.  I couldn’t drive all the way back to Covecrest on a spare so I had to buy a new tire.  Thank God there was a Goodyear shop right across the street.  I ended up having to replace both of my rear tires and have the tires rotated and balanced.  I didn’t want the man to take advantage of my situation, so I explained to him that I didn’t have much money and that I was a missionary and just needed a couple of good economical tires to get me back home. He gave me a quote, which I thought was still a little high, but it would have to do.

While I waited to get my tire changed, I couldn’t help but question God.  Here I was trying to serve Him, these teens just gave to me generously out of their poverty and the last thing I wanted to waste it on was two new tires. Was He punishing me for something?

When it came time to pay, the total came to more than what the man quoted me, I could tell he felt guilty because of the difference.  “I forgot to include tax but I tell you what I’ll play with some things and see what I can do.”  Well after playing with the numbers the total came to basically what he quoted me.  As I pulled out the money that the teens had given me I started counting it angrily and I was surprised to find out I was one dollar short.  But some of the kids put change in the basket as well, so I pulled out some of that, and I ended up being like 51 cents short. I didn’t place all the change they had given me in my pocket, so I told the man that I was going to go to my car and get some more change. He told me not to worry about it and that he had 51 cents in his pocket.

So the rest of the drive home I thought about what had just happened.  These teens gave me exactly the amount I needed to buy new tires.  My tires were so low that they would have popped anyway sometime soon around camp had I not traveled all the way to Montgomery and I would have been out a lot of money.  After reflecting on it more I couldn’t believe how amazing God is in His providence.  He provided exactly the amount I needed for new tires and He used these amazing teens, core members and youth ministers to do it.  The exact amount, that is crazy!!!

I am so thankful for all those who contributed out of their poverty to this mission, and me this weekend.  But more importantly, I’m so thankful for the treasure and life lesson they showed me, that God always provides for his people.  If we remain faithful to Him, He will remain faithful to us.  My prayers go out to all those who have recently lost their jobs, place all of your trust in Him, turn to him with your whole heart, and know with confidence that He will meet your every need even if we don’t see it right away! Thank you for your prayers and generosity, God bless you all!

Erik

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Erik and Bridget Martin

About the Author

Erik and Bridget were married in April of 2011. Bridget was a missionary with Family Missions Company for 10 years and Erik became a missionary with Life Teen in 2007. They currently live and serve at Life Teen Covecrest, located in Tiger, GA focusing on local outreach and leading short term foreign mission trips for college students.