Monday, August 08, 2005

look at the birds of the air...

I've read the stories of Christian "heroes" (though they would probably hate that label, and we might not have given it to them if we knew them personally instead of through books) like Hudson Taylor, George Mueller and others who refused to solicit financial support for their ministries except from God Himself - and never went without their needs met. In fact George Mueller's prayers were answered so powerfully that he was able to bless others with the surplus of financial security that God brought his way. When I read of these people, I am left with a twisted, confused feeling, like when you drink a nice cold glass of grape juice right after brushing your teeth. On the one hand I am excited and encouraged to read of these powerful testimonies of reckless faith and God's power. Yet on the other hand I am often discouraged as I feel I'm so far from having the strength and discipline to live such a dynamically humble and Christ-focused life.

Last year I lived off of the support of others (even though I am in full time ministry at our church, it is an impoverished one and the finances it is able to provide are sketchy at best) and God in His faithfulness provided every cent I needed (Even the 700+ bucks needed to clear up a colon infection - courtesy of Peru). Yet as I planned for this upcoming year I began to have doubts again as to if I should raise support or not again. The causes of these doubts were many, some good, others not: pride (not wanting to live off of the charity of others, wanting to be self-sufficient), desire to get a job in order to be exposed to unbelievers (those in full time ministry and full time seminary have to make an effort to meet unbelievers), desire to possibly save some money for the future, I get into less trouble when I am busy, doubts that the money would come in, getting a job seems to be necessary, it's the American thing to do...

So as you can see there are many things running through my head about raising support. As of now I have decided to try and find job to pay the rent and school bills. I think that this was the right choice, yet I haven't had a real peace about it (ya, I know that's kind of subjective, but I think you can handle some touchy-feely stuff once in a while). Something wasnt right. Even though I was on the track to self-reliance, I still felt anxious, a rather new feeling for me. Was I going to get enough money to live? Would I go into debt? Would I have enough time and energy to be effective in my ministry? Would I have to sleep in my truck again? More often than not lately these worries have drowned out the promises of God that I thought I was so familar with. I began to rely more and more on myself to solve these potential problems and at the same time continued to feel more and more helpless and exhausted. Every once in a while I was able to get off a weak cry for help to God. Yet often these feeble cries came more out of desperation and frustration rather than faith. Then I get an email out of nowhere:

John,

I’d like to talk with you more about your situation. I realized that you are going to be attending seminary, working at the church, and looking for a job. Does this mean you are not being paid by the church? If so, I’d like to see if there is anything more I could do to help you out. That seems like a very rigorous schedule and will make it a challenge for you to be as available to your students.

Tell me more about your financial situation and what your needs are. I’m not sure what I can do, but I would like to do what I can.

I have no idea what will come from this email. But I do know that God has used this person to gently remind me of so many things. God is faithful even when we are not. God answers prayers, even desperate ones, maybe especially desperate ones. And most powerfully, that Matthew 6:25-34 is both a promise and a command.

So please dont take this email as a passive-aggressive plea for money, but see it as yet another opportunity to praise and thank Daddy for giving us kids more than we could ever imagine or deserve.

By His grace, For His glory,
JRF

2 comments:

eric said...

Megan and I would love to help you out however we can. You have our prayers...can we do more? (not 'more' in the sense that there is anything more profitable than prayer, but 'more' meaning something in addition to prayer)

eric said...

P.S. GREAT llama pic!