Monday, April 18, 2011
Just last week I was balancing all of our finances. And things were a bit tight. We didn't spend beyond our means, but because of a number of ministry related expenses (extra trainings, travel for meetings, medical expenses, etc...) it looked as if we would have to take money from our savings (which isn't very large) to cover these expenses. Normally we could just reimburse these ministry expenses from our Campus Crusade ministry account (which we raise money/support for), but things are a bit tighter there as well.
And then a few days later we got the following letter in the mail from the pastor of our church:
"Pastor Jonathan Edwards (early 1700's) made several resolutions as a young man, one of which was that whenever he was in pain he would use it as an occasion to remind himself of how much pain Christian martyrs endured for Christ. By doing so, he avoided the trap of self-pity.
It is a good exercise to occasionally put ourselves in the place of others- to walk a mile in their moccasins, so to speak.
I wonder...what would your reaction be if your source of income was completely cut off and you had to depend on the gifts of others to survive- for money for food, shelter, insurance, etc? Well, both you and I know people who are or have been in that situation? Who? Well...
The 12 disciples. They quit their jobs to follow Jesus.
Jesus himself. During his three years of ministry he depended on others for support.
Missionaries. For example, Dr. Jennifer Hall could earn lots of money as a MD in the US yet she lives on what churches and individuals give her so she can give free medical care to the poor in Africa's Ivory Coast.
Here are two more examples:
Joe and Angie Cousins
Dave and Tina Roderick
The Cousins and Rodericks work with students on the UMO campus, choosing to give up other career pursuits so they can help students come to know, love, and serve Christ. Like Jesus and the early disciples, they are dependent on those who believe in what they are doing for support. It is up to them to raise money they need to live on and to cover ministry costs. It is hard.
Each Easter, we take a special offering. This year we will divide our offering between the Cousins and the Rodericks, who work with Campus Crusade and Intervarsity, respectively. What a privilege we have in working with such dedicated young people who choose to do this hard, and at times, frustrating work.
I am happy to support both of these couples who attend our church. If you wish to support them please use the enclosed envelope and either mail it or bring it with you to church."
As I initially read the letter I was INCREDIBLY humbled. After all, our pastor was comparing us to Jesus (not so much in character, but in circumstances- but still)- humbling. And then I thought back to the night I spent balancing our finances a few days earlier and I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude for God's provision and goodness. In all of our years of ministry we have never been at 100% of our financial support, but we have also seen God provide for every one of our needs. He does indeed provide and to Him we are most grateful. We are also incredibly thankful to our church for their support of our ministry and our family and for the love and encouragement they show to us on a regular basis. God is good- all the time.