Today’s sermon resonated with me on several levels. Our pastor spoke about giving and generosity and money — a very timely topic, since I expect to lose my job in a few months and don’t know what I will do. I also have filed for divorce and don’t know how the settlement will turn out. So lots of reasons to worry about money, right?
Pastor Ed spoke from I Timothy 6:6-19 to point out two big lies we believe about money, that hinder our generosity.
Lie #1: We think our provision depends on what we do.
If we depend on ourselves, we’re proud. Even when we worry because we think we haven’t done enough, we’re showing pride, thinking it’s all up to us.
We shouldn’t be like antique collectors, but like a well-appointed distribution center, accepting gifts from God and passing them on to others.
Lie #2: We believe that we would be happier if we had more resources.
We put our hope in wealth. We think we aren’t doing so, but our actions say otherwise. And that’s foolishness. Wealth is so uncertain.
Here he talked about putting our hope in our own plans. He talked about how God gave our church a wonderful piece of property, and we planned to pay for a building by selling two outparcels. But then the real estate market tanked. However much we were disappointed is however much we were putting our hope in our plans and not in God. And then we forget to thank Him for His abundant provision — the gift of the land in the first place.
God’s will often is dynamic. He often doesn’t show us the whole picture right at the start. We need to walk with Him step by step.
That part of the message resonated beautifully with what God’s been telling me about my divorce. As I said in my last post, I felt it was time to file for divorce. But I still worried if I was lacking in faith, not trusting God enough. Didn’t God tell me, and confirm and reconfirm, that He was making my husband a leader and a witness, and one day our marriage would be restored? I prayed about it. I thought this was the right step, but how could filing for divorce be following God’s leading? Was I just lacking in faith?
Then one day, when I was reading in Hebrews 11, a phrase jumped out at me from the part talking about Abraham sacrificing Isaac. He did that even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
If Abraham had been thinking like me, he could have said, “I’m really sure that God told me I’m going to have many descendants through Isaac, so I must be hearing Him wrong about this sacrificing Isaac. How could that work?”
Hebrews 11 says that Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead. Abraham had to give up his own plan about how it should happen.
As Pastor Ed emphasized today, my hope should be in God, not in my own plan. Surely God can resurrect my marriage, but if so it will be through His power, not because of any plans of mine, or any stubborn holding onto my marriage even though my husband has left.
As for my job search, all the rest of the sermon related to that. I did not get the Assistant Branch Manager position I had applied for at my last posting. I now have four applications out there for four very different positions. I don’t know what my chances are for any of those positions.
But as I think about the future, I will not be afraid. My last three jobs have been complete gifts from God. (No, pretty much every job I’ve ever had has been that.) It’s not like God’s going to abandon me now.
I’m bolstered up by two Truths Pastor Ed pointed out from the Timothy passage.
Truth #1: Our provision comes from God, and that’s where we should place our hope.
Truth #2: God richly provides for our enjoyment.
Don’t get so caught up in my own plans that I forget to enjoy and thank Him for the many gifts He’s already given!
And that kind of attitude enables me to be generous with what God has provided. God asks us to be generous, because that’s who we truly are, that’s how we will live “the life that is truly life.”
So, it was a beautifully encouraging morning. Instead of seeing my probable job loss as a tough trial I’m going through, the sermon reminded me to see it as a wonderful opportunity to see how God is going to provide.