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When Cristina Rodriguez heard the challenge on total surrender, she began a new chapter in her life. Here is her story.
“I found myself seated at the RCA Dome on the opening night of the ATI Regional Training Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, when something happened that changed my life forever. Mr. Gothard was sharing about total surrender and the principle of sowing and reaping. Right then and there I asked God to make me a “sower” for the rest of my life and to give me opportunities to give to others.
“Later that week, I had the opportunity of visiting with some orphans from Mexico, when one of the girls told me how much she liked the baseball hat I was wearing. Right then I felt a prompting: ‘Give it to her.’ I smiled, took it off, and handed it to her, saying, ‘Here, keep it.’ She exclaimed, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘Sure! It’s yours.’
“While attending this conference, I worked with a program for girls ages 8–12 called Pre-EXCEL. One morning, a girl on my team said, ‘Miss Cristy, you always smell so good!’ I gave each of the girls a quick spritz of my perfume, but once again something in me said, ‘Give it to her.’ Okay! Then I thought, ‘What am I doing? My best friend gave this to me for my birthday. It’s worth about $30! I’m not giving it away!’ It was as if God called out to me, ‘Hey, Selfish!’ I cocked my head ‘Yeah God?’ He said, ‘Give it to her.’ I smiled and said, ‘Here, I want you to have this.’
“As a sower, I began asking myself, ‘What is the least I can keep for myself so that I have more to give?’ Giving is not limited to money or perfume or baseball hats. It can be anything. Time. Talents. Smiles.
“I was unprepared for what happened next. A friend of mine came running up to me saying, ‘Cristina, I’ve been looking all over for you! Remember last May when you taught Sunday School to the children at my church?’ I nodded. ‘They sent me a check for you.’
“I responded, ‘Really? Oh, but I don’t want any money for that! I enjoyed teaching them and …’
“She interjected, ‘Well, they sent it, so you must receive it.’ She pressed a check into my hands—it was for $30!
“A few days later I was unpacking my clothes and happened to stick my hand in the pocket of a skirt. To my surprise, I pulled out a $20 bill and a $5 bill.
“Last week I returned home from work to find an envelope in the mail with my name on it. Can you imagine my shock when I read the letter: ‘Dear Cristina Rodriguez, I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected to receive a scholarship for the amount of $1,000 … .
“I went to sleep that night in the fellowship of the living God, for exactly the week before, I had been memorizing and meditating on Malachi 3:6–12: ‘… Prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing … .’ And here comes my favorite part: ‘That there shall not be room enough to receive it.’ But it gets better: ‘And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field … . And all the nations shall call you blessed.’ Isn’t God amazing?”
Paul explains the concept of sowing and reaping in II Corinthians 9:6: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” A sower is different than a tither, because a tither gives a small percentage and keeps the rest. A sower keeps as little as possible and watches God multiply the rest, as He promises: “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
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