(Originally posted 2/6/2014)
We had some friends (old and new) over for the Super Bowl the other day, and it pushed me over the edge. This used to happen at our old home – whenever people would visit, I felt this need to quickly let people know we’re renting. I wanted them to know that the house we had was not some extravagant purchase, but rather, we were blessed with an incredible rent payment every month by some generous owners. That allowed us to live in a nicer and larger home than we could afford, which – in turn- allowed us to host lots of gatherings at our home and even our church met there for meetings and services during the low weeks and months. Then, that wasn’t enough. God provided a washer/dryer for us from an anonymous donor! Then, when we’d been trying to figure out how to get fit with our crazy schedule, someone gave us a treadmill – ANOTHER ANONYMOUS DONOR! We have been so fortunate and God has provided for our family in so many tangible ways that it’s kind of ridiculous not to share.
Our couches, love seats and chairs were given to our family. All our TV, game system, phones and monthly plans, bed and all our bedroom furniture were given to our family. Our kitchen table was a wedding gift (almost 14 years ago; what!?) One of our cars has been loaned indefinitely to us and so many other things. More recently, we were given a pool table as a gift to bless us and use in our home that is so often open to ministry and fun gatherings. Yesterday, I was given the 4th business bag I’ve received in 13 years to use for my meetings and travels! I can’t believe that I ever wondered if God would provide for our family when I told Jesus I’d trust him and follow him into pastoral ministry as my vocation and occupation!
It’s almost laughable to me when I look at our home and think that sometimes I wonder if God will provide for us. I have to thank Him and say, “wow, you already have given so much! In the Cross, in the Church and in our home!”
At the same time, I’m painfully aware of the many, many, many needs around our community and the world. We, as a family are seeking to live in such a way that the Lord has full access to our things by first having access to our hearts. We want to live for Jesus, not ourselves. There are people without water or food in our community. There are people without freedom and love in our city/state/country. Oh, God, protect our hearts from infecting the stuff we have (and vice versa) and keep us separate from our belongings!
I’m no celebrity pastor or big-time author. Still, I feel a certain obligation to live in such a way that my friends and church and others in our community can have confidence in the direction of our lives. I’m glad to tell of these things because God has been kind to us. But I’m more glad to continue to live for and preach the Gospel because it frees me from slavery to sin for relationship with Christ. He it is that sends me out to bring food and stuff to others. He it is who frees our church to multiply efforts and bring freedom and peace to our community and the world!
So, thank you for reading this. I wanted to take a moment and share because it just seems wrong to allow the praise that is due to the Lord to be somehow misplaced on us or misunderstood. Do you have things you need to give God glory for?