Jun 20, 2013
This week I received the usual email from my assistant with details from last Sunday, including the amount of the offering.
I read the email, and then checked the offering amount.
Wait a minute. That can’t be right.
I double-checked. It was right.
The offering was unusually small.
Not This Time
I’ve received other emails like this. And in times past I’ve seen the small offering, known God was in control, and moved on without it affecting me.
But not this time.
Maybe I was tired. Maybe Satan was prowling. Maybe I’d been coasting. But whatever the reason, the moment I read this email I was filled with fear about the church’s finances. And I mean filled. With fear.
It was not pretty.
God gave me grace to bow my head, turn to Him just as I was, admit my fear to Him, and ask for help. But the fear about money remained.
The fact that I was fearful showed that I was not trusting God’s promises (Psa 56:3-4; Mark 4:40; Heb 11:27). And I have learned that moving from not-trusting to trusting usually requires a fight of faith (1Tim 6:12).
So I grabbed my baseball cap and my packet of memory verses, and headed out the door to my favorite prayer-path.
As I walked, I thought about Matt 6:33 —
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So if my heart is centered on God’s kingdom and righteousness, not perfectly, but persistently, then God promises that He will provide every cent we need.
The fact that I was afraid showed that I was not believing this promise. So I confessed my unbelief, was assured of forgiveness through Christ, asked for the work of the Spirit to strengthen my faith, and started preaching this promise to myself.
That helped some. But then God stirred something else in my heart.
Prayer For My Church
I felt a strong desire to pray for my church. So I started praying —
- for people who were growing in their faith
- for marriages which were being healed
- for sin which was being conquered
- for neighbors who were hearing the Gospel
- for hearts which were being encouraged by God’s Word
- for home groups who were growing in love and evangelism
And as I prayed, I remembered that it was God who had called me to pastor this church; that this was His idea, not mine.
I saw that my responsibility was to obey Him, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, and trust Him to take care of the finances.
And then I felt a fierce courage rise up in me —
I’m going to keep obeying Your call until You tell me to stop. I’m going to keep battling for these people, these marriages, these neighbors no matter what. I’m going to keep preaching Your Word, raising up leaders, making disciples who make disciples, no matter what financial hardships, no matter what problems come.
This went on for some time. And then I noticed: the fear about money was gone. I felt complete peace.
But there was more. I felt the pleasure of God. I sensed His love for me.
This filled me with joy. Made me ache with longing. And strengthened me with boldness.
And I knew — once again — God had met me. Helped me. Freed me.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- How To Cast Your Burdens Upon The Lord
- How Not To Worry About Money
- How Jesus Frees Us From Fear (4-min video)
- Hold On To God’s Promises (4-min worship video)
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