Monday, June 30, 2008

Giving....calling all children of God

Okay, so this has been weighing pretty heavily on my heart and I need to talk about it.  Its something I really believe in and God calls all of His children to do it.  Giving.  I'm not talking about just tithing.  That should be done first and foremost because its all God's anyway and he asks that in return for the provision He gives.  I'm talking about giving above and beyond that.  Sam and I really have a heart for missions and we believe that we should be giving in this area on a monthly basis.  We also believe that as God increases His provision to us that that amount of giving should increase as well.  Money is often a taboo subject with Christians and it shouldn't be.  Here's a perspective on that.  God provides everything, right? Right.  He provides jobs, money, raises, etc.  Since He is the source of all of that, then it is all His.  Our first priority should be His kingdom and because of that we should be trying to further that as much as possible using our time, money and any other resources that God gives us.  We are all charged with the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15) and so that makes us all missionaries, whether we are called to stay in our hometown or go to another country.  Most of the time when we are called to stay where we are God provides us with a job to cover living costs. However, some are called to places and people where a job would not be feasible because of the type of missions work they are doing.  That's where we come in.  We can be the financial support.  We can be a resource that is provided by God to the ones called to foreign way out of the way places.  We can help facilitate the furtherance of His Kingdom by merely sending a check every month to help a missionary family do the job that God called them to.  

Now, you may be saying to yourselves that you don't have any money to offer because of debts or some other reason.  Let me put it this way.  If you are in severe debt and don't have two pennies to rub together by the end of the month, then this message isn't for you until you get out of that debt.  You are a slave to your debtors until that time.  If, however, you find that you have an extra five dollars, 10 dollars or whatever amount that you could give, then give it.  Here's the deal.  Everything of this earth will pass away.  When we die, we can't take anything with us, except the treasures we have stored up in heaven.  I fully believe that some of those treasures, the most important ones, will be the souls that are saved because we obeyed our Heavenly Father!  Whether that is ministering to people and telling them about Jesus and the price He payed for them from your own mouth, which could be befriending a person at work and making an investment in their life, being part of an evangelizing team, inviting someone to church or small group or being a financial source.

We are currently getting out of debt and God is so faithful to provide a way for us to do that.  We are also able to give to a missionary couple we are friends with and also sponsor a child with World Vision.  It is so rewarding!  We get to see God work mightily through the little bit we are able to give.  Its amazing!  We aim to get out of debt as quickly as possible as God increases His provision for us so that we are able to increase the amount that we are able to give in support for His Kingdom.  (He has done it time and again.)  We have times where the income to bills ratio gets tight, but God has always provided enough to cover everything.  Let me also state that before you do any of this, you need to ask God what amount He wants you to give.  He WILL tell you.  It might not be in the way you expect, but He'll let you know.  Before beginning financial support to both World Vision and our friends, we took it to God and He gave us definite direction and a definite number.  We have had times when we were even able to do special one-time gifts while still keeping with our monthly support.  Seriously, isn't God awesome how He provides for His people?  He spreads His money around to where He wants it.  So cool!

So, really what I'm getting at is, if you know of/been introduced to a missionary or a group and you felt a weight on/tug at your heart to be a financial supporter for them, but you didn't, then I encourage you to get busy.  God's obviously giving you direction, now all you have to do is be obedient and follow it.  If you have had a desire to support a missionary family or group, but just haven't had an idea who or which one, then this could be an answer to that question for you.  I will put the links to World Vision and our friends the Ebersoles at the bottom.  You can go to their sites and find out what they are all about.  By the way, both World Vision and the Ebersoles give accountability for the gifts that are given to them.  (Not that we should be expecting that.  If God lays it on your heart to give then He will be the one to bring abusers of His funds to justice, not us.  Just a little something I had to learn the hard way:)  You may also find that your church supports a specific family or organization and that may an option for you.  Also, a little side perk:  Everything you give is a tax deduction.  This shouldn't be your motivation, of course, but like I said God provides in ways we don't even expect sometimes.  Please take some time to go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him about this subject.  If He's telling you to give, ask for direction in the who/what organization area and how much.  When you know, just do it.  Don't second-guess, but do it joyfully!  Your Father in heaven will be so proud of you and you will be surprised at how He rewards your submission to His will for your life!  Happy giving!:)  By the way, I would love feedback on this topic, especially if you are a financial supporter for God's ministry in some way and have had amazing experiences with it.

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