by Dave Y.
Last night I was chatting with a good friend of mine on Facebook and was sharing with them how the money seems to be spread a little thin these days. I jokingly made the comment that faith sometimes sucks; meaning, of course, that there are plenty of times I wish I just had money in my pocket for everything instead of having to wonder how God’s gonna provide again. Please forgive my choice of language here, lest I have offended anyone by speaking bluntly. Don’t get me wrong here… I love seeing how God meets our needs and I have a thankful heart. Every time I experience God’s goodness in provision I always thank Him for it. I’m also thankful for the many friends and family along the way that have reached out to my wife and I in our times of need. I regularly count my blessings and often wonder how I’ll ever be able to repay the kindness that has so often been shown to me over the years.
I almost never complain to God about money because I’m well aware that a large part of the reason I don’t have much right now is because of poor management of it in the past. Now, having a wife with debts of her own and a baby on the way, not to mention all the other lovely little expenses of life (including the fact that we’re still paying for immigration application fees at every turn), it often seems the paychecks just disappear as quickly as they arrive. I know I’m not the only one who can relate to this kind of circumstance. If a person doesn’t stop to thank God for what they have and remember to put their trust fully in Him, these issues of life can truly seem overwhelming.
Some of you might wonder why I am sharing all this… Well, I know so well my own needs and my weaknesses. But I also know that God truly is faithful and, no matter how hard things get, He has ALWAYS met every need and things have ALWAYS worked out somehow. Maybe not the way I thought they would, but they have always worked out and often I learned something valuable in the process. So far, Tammy and I have not resorted to applying for government assistance. We pay our own way for everything. Sometimes we don’t have much. Sometimes there’s not much food in the house. Sometimes we just stay home and hang out together because there’s not enough gas in the truck to go anywhere and no money to spend on things we don’t need anyway. But we are happy! YES, WE REALLY ARE HAPPY! There is so much we are thankful for!
I hear so many people say things like, “I wish I had done this better or maybe if I had only done that, then I wouldn’t have to struggle so much right now.” Excuse me friend, but how does that anxiety help you at this moment? It doesn’t… Others just go nuts with worry. They see the circumstances piling up, the debts, the expenses, and all the drama that family and jobs tend to throw into the mix and they get overwhelmed; disturbed, stressed out, exhausted, fearful, etc. Again, how does that anxiousness help the situation? It doesn’t. I know that most all of us know this passage well, but I really encourage you to read it again in full. Really hear what Jesus is saying to us! It is of vital importance!
- Matthew 6:24-34 (NLT) – “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
When I look at so many of these so-called ministries today on TV, online and around town, always begging for money for this and that (crying “we need, we need, we need”), it’s hard to not get annoyed. Even some of the people I’ve known over the years with websites that started out free and were full of excitement to share the things of God with others, now have resorted to charging money for subscriptions and books and merchandise. I’ve talked to some of these friends on the phone and they complain that they have families to feed and expenses to take care of. They tell me they could not provide the service of a website or share their writings without charging. Then they talk about their “right” to take money for ministry. From that point on, it’s the same ol’ thing. We’ve all heard it before and it seems that virtually every ministry out there today resorts to the same arguments and complaints. Personally, I don’t buy it and I’m sick of hearing it.
Most of the time, it’s costs me less than $10 a month to run this website! Of course, that doesn’t include the time involved in updating it, the extra programs I sometimes have to purchase, the time writing articles, and answering emails, but I wouldn’t include that anyway. One brother told me, “Time is money Dave.” I said, “Only if your serving for a paycheck.” This website is a labor of love and the payment I receive from it is the benefit of connecting with lots of great people who love the Lord like I do. I also get joy knowing that some people are genuinely encouraged along their own path with the Lord. I still believe Jesus’ words, “Freely you have received, now freely give!” God has given me so much and all of it a blessing! My Father in heaven has not charged me money for the love and truth He’s bestowed. How could I ever turn around and charge others for it? I don’t mean to put unfair pressure on my friends out here that do charge money for what they do, but I’m sorry… I don’t understand how they can do it. I don’t understand how their conscience will allow them.
I’m thankful for brothers like Shean Smith, Michael Clark, George Davis, Russ Kelly, Scott & Annette Brians, and others that are out there giving away the truth for free! They are a huge encouragement to me! So many people have been blessed by their giving and I am so glad to have known people like this who walk the walk and not just talk the talk! There are many others like these too, whom show this same godly example and I am thankful for every one!!! To all those of you who give just as freely as you’ve received, THANK YOU and GOD BLESS YOU!!!
Serving God is a privilege and being able to reach out to others is a joy. I don’t see any of this as a means to profit. It’s not a “side-job”. There’s no such thing as “full-time” or “part-time” ministry. There is just ministry (serving with love) – PERIOD! My point is that, yes, times are tough financially and there are plenty of expenses still that I don’t have any idea where I’m gonna come up with money to pay for. These other “ministers” that complain about money all the time don’t earn my sympathy, I’m sorry. It’s not impossible or even hard to still serve others from love, even if the money is in short or no supply. It’s all in your perspective and in your willingness to be an instrument in God’s hands. Your heart will reflect in your actions. I really believe it is that simple! I especially have zero sympathy for those who won’t go out and get a regular job to pay their expenses, but expect to make their living solely from (so-called) ministry. How convenient and pathetic! I have heard just about every excuse in the book and, sadly, from a number of my colleagues who have sites similar to my own. To be honest, they start to sound a lot like the teacher in those Charlie Brown cartoons (wop wah wop wah wa). Obviously, this is a bit of a peeve of mine. 😉
So, yes, believe me I know… Sometimes faith sucks. It’s hard to trust in what you can’t always see. When you have needs to be met and you can’t fathom where the money is gonna come from, faith is not easy. I’ve never realized this more than now as I have a wife to think about, a baby on the way, and plenty of bills… some of them way beyond my present ability to take care of. But I would rather keep my heart pure and continue giving freely what I’ve freely received because this is where happiness exists! This is the place where miracles also happen and, best of all (though sometimes hardest of all), this is the place where you learn to LISTEN for the voice of the Spirit. I guess, after all, faith doesn’t really suck at all… but I think the devil would like us to think so.
If you’re going through tough times, hang in there! Don’t let the anxiety of life overwhelm you. I know it sounds cliche, but TRUST IN GOD! We who know the Lord have MUCH to be thankful for and even more reason to give freely from the bounty that God has given us. I’m encouraging myself with this as well. Giving is sometimes hard when you are also in the position of being needy. Recently I gave something away to someone because they had a need and I had the means to meet it… A friend of mine quickly gave me a lecture about how stupid it was for me to give that away when I could have sold it to make a little profit. This friend lectured me on why, in their opinion, I really had no business giving something away when I have a wife and child on the way to think about. They told me I should have turned a profit. I’m glad I didn’t listen to this friend. There is joy in knowing that my needs do not enslave me or cripple me. Because I am a son of my Father in heaven, I am FREE to give and to still trust that He will meet every need and even give me extra to still be able to bless others with.
That having been said, I am still aware of my own stinginess at times. I’m not always quick to give or sensitive to the needs around me… but I am growing! I hope you guys are encouraged somehow by this. Don’t be bullied by circumstances and financial anxieties. I know, this is much easier said than done but we really don’t have to be manipulated by our needs. Take it from a guy that has needs and knows what it is to struggle through. The very reason I titled this “Faith Sometimes Sucks” is because I know that feeling well. It takes some focus, to redirect our sights on Jesus’ instruction, but when we really let that trust kick in (despite our emotional tendencies to react), God gives real peace in our circumstances… and happiness too!
Have a great December everyone!!!