God is a Good Father: Proverbs 3:27

Proverbs 3:27, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (KJV)

In 2005, my husband, Arlin, and I raised American quarter horses: 19 mares and 5 cutting horse foals.

 

We usually raised one hundred percent of our hay for feeding, but winter took a toll on crops, and we needed to supplement our supply. Back then, hay cost $75 to $125 a ton (now $200 to $350). Hay can itch, so I dressed in old blue jeans, long sleeves, and a Wrangler jacket. Without a second thought, I crammed $125 into my jeans pocket, tucked my flip phone inside a zippered compartment, and left my purse at home.

Our veterinarian had educated me, so I called to ensure the seller’s hay didn’t have mold. Mold leads to colic, and one colic surgery can cost thousands of dollars plus weeks of rehabilitation. I learned that the hard way, when I took a rancher’s word for the truth and loaded eight moldy bales on a borrowed flatbed.

We pulled our diesel pickup and 20-foot stock trailer away from whinnying horses nickering to climb aboard for a fun ride to the mountains. I called out, “We’ll be back, Dez,” and “We’ll bring you hay.”

As Arlin drove through the seller’s gate and traveled three miles east, a bitter-sharp smell of sagebrush hit my nostrils. I doubted the address. How could premium hay grow in such a stark and dry place amidst weeds and dirt? But the rancher sat on his John Deere tractor with pallet forks, ready to load.

When I extended my hand, the rancher’s mouth pursed into a straight line. “Where’s your flatbed? Stock trailers take forever to load,” he said. “I’m in a hurry.” I didn’t tell him that I preferred to handle each bale individually and roll it around to check for mold.

It took a while, but after 30 minutes of Arlin stabbing hay hooks into bales and me organizing the 85-pound squares into place, we stacked two tons of excellent quality hay to the ceiling of our trailer.

My stomach growled, and in a flash, I visualized a juicy cheeseburger with all the fixings, including homemade potato salad, at the café halfway between the ranch and our place. But my husband had given his last dollars to the Boy Scouts for popcorn, and with only $125 stashed inside my pocket, I was stuck! My husband and I had a good reputation for paying our bills, so I considered using the money to eat and returning later to pay for the hay.

But I could not. It wasn’t fair to the rancher. Or honorable. Proverbs 3:27 says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” The rancher deserved the money, especially after waiting 30 minutes for us to load hay by hand.

Images of food and hot coffee disappeared. Back in the truck, over the roaring power stroke 7.3L engine, I heard my stomach protest. But I didn’t mind. It didn’t sink in until we’d returned home, unloaded hay, and fixed a homegrown Angus burger with homemade pickles and bacon how tiny acts of choosing God’s righteousness add up. How much better lunch tasted knowing we had lived out our faith in a practical way.