Friday, October 28, 2011

For the fifth time in ten years, David and I are absolutely flabbergasted. We are overwhelmed by how God is providing for our daughter's adoption...five adoptions in ten years, with each one costing at least half of our yearly income. Impossible by all logical standards, but very simple by the standards of God's Kingdom. He is just so lavishly generous!

This is amazing and I am very grateful, but I've also been wrestling...wrestling with questions about wealth, poverty, giving, saving, hoarding and love, because even though we have more than enough, there are so many who do not. Precious people, whom God has created, are starving, lonely, cold and lost in this world. I know without a doubt that it's not because God doesn't care. So, why is it?

Randy Alcorn, in his book, The Treasure Principle, reminds us that, "Abundance isn't God's provision for me to live in luxury. It's His provision for me to help others live." Alcorn also says, "Suppose God wanted to fulfill His plan of world evangelization and help an unprecedented number of suffering people. What gift would you expect Him to distribute widely? Perhaps the gift of giving? And what might you expect Him to provide for those to whom He's given that gift? Perhaps unprecedented wealth to meet all those needs and further His kingdom? Look around. Isn't that exactly what God has done? The question is, what are we doing with the wealth He's entrusted to us to reach the lost and help the suffering?"

I wrestle with this, because I want to know what it means practically in my life.

For example, a freind of ours recently commented that it is loving to have some money saved, so as not to be a burden on others. This friend is a godly, frugal man. He's not advocating hoarding by any means, but is simply recommending having a modest savings. There is so much wisdom in this.

On the other hand, I was struck a while back by a blog post that mentioned Dave Ramsey's policy of having three months salary set aside for emergencies. The author of the post asked the question...aren't starving childen in the world an emergency? They may not be my children, but they are somebody's children and furthermore, they are children of the Living God. Isn't their lack of food an emergency? Shouldn't I be willing to spend every dollar I have for the sake of this emergency?

Friends, I was pierced. And I truly believe that both of these perspectives can be right and godly, but the question is, what is God asking me to do?

In some ways, however, the question of saving or giving is an easy one, because it deals with what is left over after my needs (and the needs of my family) are already met. An even bigger question that I wrestle with is how to determine what to spend money on.

I have a confession. I love to go out to eat. I like to go by myself to Panera to eat lunch, pray, study God's Word and listen to Him speak. I do this 2-4 times each month and I love it! I also love to take my kids out for breakfast or a young believer out for coffee. I like to go out for dinner with David or Meredith. It is such a pleasure. And I know without a doubt that God loves these relationships!

But, the question is, is going out to eat God's best?

Friends, I don't know.

I also don't know if it makes sense to have life insurance (we do) or to buy new jeans because my old ones are too short (I shrunk them in the wash) or to get a decent haircut. If my children were starving, the length of my jeans (or my hair, for that matter) would be irrelevant to me.

Friends, children are starving. They aren't my children, but they are someone's children. They are certainly God's children.

Our God is so generous. He is lavish. He pours out His blessings (material and spiritual) in great measure. I don't wrestle with these questions because I feel condemned or afraid of His judgment. I wrestle with these questions because I love Him so much and I just want to be like Him. I want to love like He loves. I want to give like He gives. I want to be generous, as He is generous. I also know that there is just so much joy in giving!

Jesus, help me to see the world as you see it. Help me to love as You love. Help me to be generous as You are generous. Give me Your heart, dear Jesus. Give me Your heart.

Precious friends, I would love to hear your thoughts. So many of you have wisdom that is beyond me. You are living out Jesus' teachings in radical ways. Have you wrestled with these questions? What is God saying to you? Thank you, so much! I appreciate your sharing more than you could ever know.

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Cheri said...

I think those same thoughts. I'm looking forward to hearing some opinions.

The Byrd's Nest said...

Yes, this is lots to think about for sure:) In our family, there was no way we had the money to adopt either....God always provided. Greg and I were talking the other day that there are some things going on and we may not be able to return for our 2nd term as missionaries in 2014. We both agreed that we don't worry for one second that we have nothing except our possessions if we returned to the states because if it is God's plan.....He will still provide. We still have far more than most of our friends here.

As for the poor, the need here in Mexico is overwhelming and you see so much of it every day that you want to help them all...but that is not possible. For us, to get through this emotionally and to not feel like failures, we just help one at a time. The biggest way to help is to continue spreading God's word all over the world. Anytime we have ever had an "excess" of money, we don't keep it. Seems like He never allows us to keep it, a need is immediately placed before us that we cannot ignore and is gone.

We used to feel that we had to plan for our future, college for the kids, money put away in case something happens...but for us....we decided just to put our trust in Him. That may sound irresponsible to some people but we feel like if we are living in His will...He will take care of the rest. And He has. We had not one penny for Elisabeth's wedding in December. She wasn't even dating when we left Texas over two years ago! We are not having to pay anything for this beautiful day. Gifts and gestures have been pouring in without us even saying a word. He knew it all along!

So, we just keep giving ourselves to these people and we don't worry about the rest. Makes life a little more adventurous:)

But YOU my friend...are already like Him. How many posts do you write opening our eyes to what is going on in the world? How many times have you asked us for help with a child's surgery or whatever other needs they have? YOU are His voice...YOU are His hands and His feet! Thank you for always keeping us on our toes:) Love you!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Wow...sorry that was so long! lol

No Greater Love said...

Ha ha ...Kim and I are so alike. I'm going to leave you a book, too. :)

I think first and foremost is that in whatever we do in terms of $, we must know that it is in obedience to the Lord. I am reading George MacDonald's sermons..and in it he says, "What is faith in Him? I answer, the leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him; the leaving of your trust in men, in money, in opinion, in character, in religious doctrines and opinions, and then doing as Christ tells you." (starting at then it should be in italics...but you can't do that in comments..but I think it's very important to emphasize that.)

Everything comes down to loving Him by obeying Him.

And you know me well enough to know I don't mean this in an individualistic way...BUT it does have to be obedience to how He speaks to us individually sometimes.

Therefore, if He says to be like George Mueller...and have him be your teacher...then you need to obey that...and we can't compare ourselves to anyone else.

Even with life insurance, health insurance, etc. Almost put blinders on to what others are doing...and seek for what is obedience and faithfulness for your family.

I am so convicted by that article, "Margins" that got passed out a few weeks ago...where he talks about how so much of what we do is because we compare ourselves to others. And that if there was no one else in the world, but us, we would never be dissatisfied with how we look, or what we have, or what we do for the Lord. Even Paul says, "Let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each has to bear his own load."

So all that lengthiness to say...I think the Lord has spoken clearly to you, about how to regard $. And maybe He's spoken clearly to someone else that they need to lay some aside. Both are done in obedience to Him.

Okay...maybe I won't write everything else...even though I have so much more. :)

But...2 Corinthians 8:1-15 has also been swirling in my head.

I think all in all, since I can't stop thinking about this subject that I am going to focus on loving and worshiping God...telling Him, I am willing to obey anything and everything He says in regards to $ (and every other thing I have questions about right now)...and then stop worrying about if I'm doing it right...and just trust that He really will tell me what to do. And as soon as He tells me, I will obey instantly.

I love you with my life.


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