God is God and money is not…

13 Mar

Sometimes it can be difficult to step out and do something you really want to do for God because you are afraid that you will not have enough money if you do so.

I definitely get that. We have been there. Done that.

Here is a little personal testimony and I think I could share much more than my fingers will be prepared to type, but(and this isn’t some sort of subtle appeal for funds) I do want to share a little of our real life story because I am hoping what God’s done in us is hopefully an encouragement to those of you who are thinking these kinds of things through.

This month and this is just one of many where we were sitting at the beginning of the month and looking at our bank account and seeing that our funds for living were in the negative. Two hundred dollars or so in the negative with eight children and two weeks to go before we get paid again.

Now, that moment, right there, is one I would imagine that many people would fear, they wouldn’t like and if you sat me down and asked me if that was ideal, I would definitely agree that it wasn’t. But. Let’s think this through.

1. The reality is that sometimes you do step out to do something and you don’t have the resources to do it. I like George Mueller stories (if you don’t know who he is, google him) but sometimes it is easy to forget that even he had to wait at times. Like for us, we wanted to live nearer to where the members of our church live but we are unable to do so because we would have to pay rent and where we stay right now is free or our church has to meet in the afternoon and it would be better for us to meet in the morning and we are not crying here, that’s just the reality. What do you do with that? One thing we do is thank God that He is a God who is in absolute control and we know that if we are not able to do something that we would really like to do it is not because He doesn’t have the power to help us do that and it is not because He is not good. That leaves us with one option, it is for our best even if it doesn’t feel like it. Now, of course I have got to keep asking myself, am I trusting Him, am I acting out of fear, faith or wisdom, but the beautiful thing is that the end result is not going to be absolutely dependent on my faithfulness as much as God’s grace and passionate pursuit of His own glory. God’s got such a great plan and His plan is so much bigger than you just getting your little dream done. He’s in the middle of everything sanctifying you and helping make you more and more like Jesus.

2. Sometimes when you think you can’t do something because of a lack of money, you may really mean, you can’t do it and still live the American lifestyle the way you are used to. Here’s a confession. There are a whole lot of people who live on a whole lot less than we do. I have found that is very difficult even as a middle class American to strip myself of all the assumptions I have about what I need to live. For example, we would assume that we need a car to live. But most of the world doesn’t have a car. We went without a car for several months this year because we didn’t have funds to have one. And you know what, ministry went on. We just did a little more walking. Africans are amazing at surviving. It is great for shutting up your worries about money when someone else is sitting beside you in church who is surviving on one fifth of what you are making every month!

3. There really are verses like “therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what will you put on” in the Bible and I think that Jesus means it. Here may be where some of the more encouraging stories come in. When we went to start the baby home, I was somewhat pessimistic, I thought it would take ten years because as I told Marda, I am not sure how much we can donate to it every month, but you know what, one year later, bang, over a hundred thousand dollars given for the purchase of a house. We went without a car for several months, yes, but then guess what, someone called me up and said I have something I want to tell you, an anonymous donor has said that they want to give you a car and guess what, they actually want to give you two cars, one for Marda and one for you. Several months ago, it was a Friday night and I was sitting there thinking, I need to go grocery shopping tomorrow but I literally have no money to do so. I was about to get frightened, but then I thought, you know what I need to go to God and pray, trusting that He is for me. Sure, I realized, it is Saturday morning tomorrow and we don’t usually get mail or anything like that on Saturdays, but I am going to just ask God for help and then the next morning someone showed up at our gate, from Germany nonetheless, and they had an envelope they wanted to give us with more than enough money for us to get groceries. This month, I told you we were short a couple hundred dollars, how was God going to fix that? Well, we loaned someone our car last month and they scratched it. No big deal. Not big enough for us to fix, but someone heard about it and just got in touch with us to let us know that they want to give us money to fix it up. I said, but you know, the amount that you want to give is well above what it would take to fix the car, well above. No worries. We are sending it anyway. Then someone else messaged us to let us know they are sending cash over with a friend of theirs just because. And man, talking about that reminds me of last month where we seriously short again and a friend of ours from university that we haven’t had much contact with in years, felt compelled to send us over a check which covered what we needed for that month. Oh and here is another that I actually forgot about until my wife just reminded me but it is one of my favorites, I was down town and meeting with a guy who was absolutely desperate, I knew him, I knew what he was going through, but I only had fifty rand left for the month (not counting the ten rand I needed for the taxi ride home) and that fifty was in my pocket. I struggled for a while honestly, but then I took out the money, prayerfully, and gave it to him. I took the taxi home and when I got off (at a spot I usually didn’t but I had called out for the taxi driver to stop a little late) I started walking up to my house and what did I see down at my feet in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no one around? Eight hundred rand. It was like it fell out of the sky. You just don’t find eight hundred rand on the ground in Africa. I don’t know what you would call that, but I call that a pretty good return on my investment!

Why am I telling you these stories? Well, I am telling you that it is certainly is important to be realistic when you step out. You may not eat as much. You may not be able to do everything that you wish you could do. But at the same time, if you are a believer God really is for you and He really is able to provide, and He often does so in surprising ways. Here’s the deal. You do need to ask questions like is this wise biblically, make sure that you are not just doing your thing, do what you are doing in connection with your local church and the leadership there who knows you, get their wisdom and all that. But. This is the other thing. The one question you don’t have to worry about so much is whether God will be able to take care of you. He is. He does. Rather than spending so much time being afraid of doing something because you lack the funds, spend much more time focusing on figuring out whether what you want to do is right, whether it is God-glorifying, whether it is just your own little idea or whether your church is behind you instead.

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2 Responses to “God is God and money is not…”

  1. Rudi March 13, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Thanks for your encouragement.
    i truly believe that my God is for me am not even worried about anything.
    He my provider and i will keep trusting in him always.
    the Word of God has giving me something that i missed since…..and it has giving me motivation and courage.

  2. Tommie. March 14, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Wow!!!

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