Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Gift Day

In Oct 1998 I started going along to a church which started me out on a journey of discovering who Jesus actually is and what he has done by his grace and mercy in my life. Before this 'journey' began I had spent 5 years in the student bubble and had come out of that with eye watering amounts of debt in loans and overdrafts.

Why do I record this? As I reflect on the gift days coming up at our church on the 8th and 15th Nov, I realise how far I have come in my understanding of God's grace. When I first started the journey in 1998 the very thought of putting even a handful of change in the offering basket was a bizarre concept. Why did the church need my money? (the emphasis being my money). I would get cross when I considered the pastor was speaking too much about giving, after all didn't he know that I was in debt and didn't he know that I needed to eat and didn't he know that I was only on an entry level teachers salary. I had so many reasons to be cross that I felt totally justified in not giving money.

Then God broke in and He impressed upon me an amount to give. I argued with Him and I tried to ignore this nagging amount that I should put in. In the end I relented. I put the cheque in the basket as it passed me by. It wasn't the easiest thing that I had ever done. I was a new Christian, just knowing that I wanted to follow Jesus. The money I had put in meant I went deeper into my overdraft by the end of the month and there was part of me that was totally reluctant, but deep down I knew that I would be okay - if Jesus died for me to take away my sin, and I had trusted him to do that, I could trust him in money, right!?!

Indeed I could. At the end of that very meeting, the pastor of the church invited people with debt problems to see him afterwards. I did so and I met with him the following Saturday. We went through my budget and agreed on various cuts and caps on spending and at the end of that meeting he graciously and mercifully offered to clear my overdraft. This amounted to just over 10 times what I had put into the offering. To this day I have not needed an overdraft and I know that that is because of God's grace and mercy, not the grace and mercy of one man.

It is stories like this one and countless others that have left me knowing that I can trust God in the financial areas of my families life. B and I now have one salary and a baby girl to look after and as a husband I am starting to increasingly feel the weight of this. When the weight sometimes feels too much, I need to remind myself of God's faithfulness and ask myself the question: Who's money is it anyway? It was this question that was answered as a result of the story I have told. I came to the awareness that all I had was his anyway and when I am full of faith, He is faithful. This is no way a prosperity article, I want to make that clear. My giving does not obligate God in any way, it's not a formula, but there is something in trusting God above and beyond our means that enables Him to work miraculous things into our lives.

I for one, am looking forward to the gift days - not because I enjoy saying no to all the other good things I can spend money on - but because I enjoy seeing God in me and amongst his people. As I joyfully drop my money in on 15th Nov, I know that I will be joining together with brothers and sisters whom God is also stirring to trust him. If you are part of RFC then join with my family and I as we continue our faith adventure in this area of giving.

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