Illustration: Stewardship, Trust

In his book The Cycle of Victorious Giving (Beacon Hill Press), Stan Toler tells about the time when he was a college student and attended the annual missions conference at his church. "I felt impressed by God to give $100 as a pledge of faith. At that time, it certainly was a faith pledge. College expenses had put a colossal crimp on my finances. I paid the pledge promptly, but it took the last of my cash. After the offering, I was broke. Good old-fashioned worry weighed heavily on my mind.

"Soon after, while I was working part-time as a barber at the North Court Barber Shop in Circleville, Ohio, my boss said he wanted to talk to me. More worry.

"'Stan,' he began, 'all the other barbers in this shop have a chance to get more tips and profits from the sale of hair products than you; but you're doing a great job! Here's a bonus of $100--just don't tell the others.'

"If it weren't for two things, I would have danced around the shop and hugged my boss's neck. First, back then students at the college I attended weren't allowed to dance. Second, pedestrians passing by the big plate glass storefront of the shop probably wouldn't understand why I was hugging my boss.

"God taught me something that day. I discovered I never could beat Him in a giving competition. God honors obedience, and He loves it when we learn to trust."