By Betty Chadek
On a crisp Sunday morning in 1971, my four teenage children and I sat in our usual place in church. The sixth row and right-hand side of the sanctuary was the Chadek aisle. As the pastor highlighted the weekly announcements, the five of us thumbed through our church bulletins. We all paid particular attention when the pastor announced that the church had selected a needy family to support for Thanksgiving. He encouraged generosity and asked the congregation to bring canned goods and other items to the Wednesday night Bible study. One of my children leaned over and said to the other children, “Gosh, there’s somebody worse off than us.”
It broke my heart to hear those words from my son, Mike. As a single mother of six, two now living on their own, I struggled every week to make ends meet. We lived in subsidized housing and even though I had a job, things were at an all time low. To top it off, the Department of Health and Welfare recently determined because of my annual income, that we were no longer eligible for welfare subsidies. Even though our situation was desperate, the Lord always reminded me of His word, and that is what we clung to. Because of our own struggle, we were able to consider this family’s needs and how we might contribute in some way.
Since I knew that I could depend on God to always give me relief from my distress and to be my strength and my refuge in time of trouble, the children and I found left over dry products distributed by the foods subsidies program; the usual rice and cornmeal packages. We had two cans of tuna and decided to part with one. I imagined this family having a tuna casserole as we would. There were a few additional items we placed in the bag, including a can of evaporated milk. There wasn’t much but we poured our heart into the project and were excited to share what we did have with this needy family. Our nearly full bag was placed in the foyer of the church and I went on to Bible Study and Prayer.
After I arrived home from Bible study that Wednesday evening, the doorbell rang. My son, Michael, answered the door and yelled out, “Hey Mom, there’s some guys here from the church.” When I went to the door there were three men from the church, and a pick-up full of grocery bags. They began placing brown grocery bags all over the kitchen, on the floor and counter tops.
That needy family was us!
Later that night when I put the food away, I came across our bag; the rice, cornmeal, evaporated milk, and that valued can of tuna. The Lord multiplied our giving and I felt as if I was looking at baskets of loaves and fishes.
What a Thanksgiving we experienced that year! What a wise, faithful and compassionate God we have. How comforting to realize that because God knows our frame, He also knows what we will need in the future as well as at the present. Since he knows our needs–present and future–we can believe Him whenever he says “Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24 NIV)
I believe I was able to share our resources because early in my Christian walk, I learned that it was God’s responsibility to bring victory and it was my responsibility to get into the battle and pray. It wasn’t easy and there were many times when I struggled with doubt, but I clung to God’s promises. I decided just as David did, that I would put the Lord always before me, “He is at my right hand” David said (Psalm 16:8 NIV). I would learn not to be shaken by the circumstances of life. “Your word O Lord is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations, if your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction (Psalm 119:89, NIV).
Betty Chadek is a mother of six adult children who live in six different states. She recently moved to Nevada to live with one of her daughters and son in law. Betty is a retired church bookkeeper now spending her time reading, writing, studying and knitting.