Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Had a break-through... Thoughts on Giving

Have you ever wondered why missionaries can wow you with their vision and passion, and then stumble over themselves when asking for money? Have you struggled to get excited about giving? Or been afraid to give during this economic crisis?? Lately I've been wrestling with this very thing, and God showed up and spoke into my inner debate.

Check it out:

"Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink." And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." So she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die." And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.' " So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, accordind to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah." -I Kings 17:8-16

How humbling and scary for Elijah to ask this poor, starving widow for food. And at times, I confess, I am not eager to ask people to support missions financially. But as I was studying the Word this morning, and seeking God's heart in prayer, He opened to me the upside-down equations of the kingdom! There is nothing logical about asking a widow for material support. But God delights in using the weak things of this world to put the strong to shame. And in an economic crisis it does not make any sense to ask people to give above and beyond their tithe to foreign missions. Except for the fact that God doesn't change- His call to us remains the same- His faithful provision remains the same. And in the upside-down kingdom kind of way, Elijah calls the widow to give him food first, and then survive on the rest. What faith!

And God proved faithful. I am not trying to tell you to give us money so you can get blessed. I am not a tele-evangelist. But the kingdom principle remains: God is blessed by your obedience. And will bless in return. Transformational giving is based on the abundance and trustworthiness of God, not a theology of scarcity. And He does not let radical, costly obedience go unrewarded. I don't know what that will look like in your life. But I do know that He is calling us to go to Uganda, and will provide a way for us to get there. And I know that if He is calling you to give (to us, to your local church, to another ministry), He will provide a way for you to do so.

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the Lord of hosts." -Malachi 3:10-12

If He is calling you to give- out of abundance or sacrificially- say YES! He will make a way. You will be astonished. And He will get all the glory! Let's stand back and watch His magnificent ways!

These are just my initial thoughts. What are you thinking? I'll post more soon.

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