Two years ago to the month I began a journey that would take me down a path I would never have sought for myself. Early in the experience I was was given these word: “…there is a particular work that the Lord wants to do through you. You must now go to God in humility and with an open mind because what the Lord wants to accomplish through you is uncommon and not what you are used to. Come out from among them and be separated so that I can speak to you,” says the Lord.
So with this promise I began to venture into uncharted waters. The exciting thing was that it forced me to operate on pure faith and determined prayer. The waters have certainly had its share of waves, turbulence and tumbles, its memorable moments, along with some unexpected surprises, while not forgetting many challenges along the way. What began with a promise for a future and a hope, has developed into a fuller understanding of the scope of His mission and my role in it.
What I experienced was a breakthrough and clarity that stretched my understanding, ultimately being amazed at how much my perspective on giving was about change.
It was revealed to me in the following dream
I had learned many years earlier that we should spend less than we earn, avoid debt, and give 10% to the church. But there was a problem. I had lived these principles since childhood. Still something was missing. I had a growing sense of financial peace in my life. But spiritual peace about my giving was lacking.
There must be more to Christian giving than just having finances in order and a clean tithing record. It sparked a hunger in me to understand how God views giving, and how my giving might actually get His attention.
All my life God has blessed my family abundantly through faithful giving. I sensed the Lord was leading me to this ministry where I could grow in my giving capacity.
Certain I had heard the Lord correctly, I did not know where to begin, so I waited trusting on the Lord that He would show me the way. The secret for me was to follow God’s will, one that rejects the good for God’s best. Humility is the place where all Christian service begins and so in humility and with an open mind I sought the Lord.
But I soon discovered that God was not looking at my giving per sea, but my gift. My giving does not depend on my own resources, but on God’s goodness. So, God himself provides what I give. Just like the farmer’s supply of seed. Although I felt it was a small offering, God promised to use it to provide for people in a wonderful way. During this time He was specific in where I was to give
- Give to the poor and needy – “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.” Psalm 112:9
- Persecuted Christian’s suffering in hostile spiritual environments
- Publish abroad the Kingdom of God – ‘…but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God’ Luke 9:60 ASV. My focus is to give to the printed word – the “paper missionaries” to advance the Gospel to the unreached people groups of the world.
- Unreached People Groups – an identifiable group of people distinguished by a distinct culture, language, or social class who lack a community of Christians able to evangelize them.
This strong direction for giving came with this promise
‘Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full — pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back’ Luke 6:38 NLT
The verse gave me God’s order for blessing grace giving. My giving comes first. Then the promise is given that I will receive. It is a fixed principle in life that we reap according to our sowing. That my actions react upon me and what I keep I lose, and what I give I gain. So, God promises to give after I give, not before..
Plant the first seeds
Now He is asking me to plant the first seeds. He is asking me to demonstrate my trust by sowing financial seed into His Kingdom. He is asking me to trust Him. His promises and the laws of sowing and reaping that He has established in the earth. Sow seeds (offering) into His Kingdom by setting aside income today to advance His Kingdom.
Grace Giving in practice
So I have begun this exciting adventure of grace giving. I have sat down with my family and together discussed what amount we can designate to the Lord’s work. Each of our children, if they are given an allowance, or if they have earned money in one way or another, are encouraged to make a similar decision. The amount in each case is discreet and private, so that this matter is one between ourselves and the Lord.
I have discovered a new joy in giving. It is one of the most satisfying experiences in my Christian life. At the same time I am also sensitive to this matter of grace giving as it can provoke much discussion.
One way I have found fulfilling was to establish separate bank accounts, on purpose, just as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 16. One, specifically for meeting the needs of others as they arise and a second to support ministry to unreached people groups. As I began to accumulate a little money in the accounts I have found a healthy anxiousness to give, I have become much more conscious of needs and much more prayerful about how that money should be spent.
I have much more to say about grace giving and its impact on me, and I will continue this conversation in future blogs. I have much more to learn as this is a huge step for me personally and it has challenged me to get uncomfortable and be ok with being uncomfortable. I want to be an encouragement to help those who may be experienceing a similar call,
How do I plan to sail through uncharted waters? By continuously seeking the Lord’s face in prayer. I pray that I do not complicate the obvious. I have put the boat out from the shore for the chance – the hope – that through my obedience to God’s call on my life His kingdom will advance and His glory will cover the earth.