My husband and I have spent the past few days in the home of a good friend who has been involved in a ministry that equips, trains and helps to support pastors living in central America. Soon they will be expanding to other areas as well.
We've spent the past few days sharing about the things which God has been doing in our lives since we last met in person three years ago. God is good!
However, we learned that during this time, the ministry our friend has been involved in has nearly had to shut their doors. It is not due to the lack of manpower nor is it for the lack of pastors seeking training and other support. It is because so many churches have stopped giving.
We shared with our friend that we too had heard about this happening to ministries and churches across the country. As the economy went sour, people stopped giving. It makes sense doesn't it. After all, that's the prudent thing to do. When things get tight, cut corners right?
C-17°|F2° Just because something sounds like a good idea doesn't mean it is!
The human race does not exactly have a stellar track record in discerning what is a good idea and what is not. If you don't believe me, I will give you a couple of examples:
, Garden of Eden-Adam and Eve truly had it all but instead of listening to God Almighty, they decide that they should listen to a snake. Every day we are reminded that was NOT a good idea!
, The Flood-Humanity thought it was a great idea to ignore God and do what they pleased instead. Seeking to gain everything, they lost everything instead... including their lives.
When will we learn to stop trusting our instincts and start trusting God?
After listening to our friend, my husband and I started to share what is happening at our church and indeed it is happening to a few churches across America. Giving has increased dramatically. Why? Because the people have a heart to give... and do it.
You see, a number of people decided that they were going to trust God to care for their needs. They came to understand that they are not the "owner" of what they possess or receive. They are the steward... God's steward.
The steward works for the "landlord" (God). It is not the other way around. The landlord provides the steward with food, shelter and clothing and even gives "rewards" for service as he sees fit.
We have no right to withhold what God has placed into our hands. It is not ours... it is God's and we must use it as He directs us. The problem is we either do not listen or we insist upon doing the directing. That's a bad idea and while it might seem like things are going well for a season, there will come a day of reckoning when God calls you to give account of your stewardship. Remember the parable of the talents? This really does apply to finances as well, folks.
When times get tough, our instinct is to "circle the wagons" but this is exactly what we should not do. When we do so, we are sealing ourselves up. We are not reaching out and we are doing something else. We are creating a barrier or a wall between ourselves and God. How can He bless us if we do that? He can't.
Dare to say, "I will trust in God and God alone." Dare to say, "Not my will but thine." Dare to say "All that I have is Yours!" When you do, you will not be disappointed in what happens next.