And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
2 Corinthians 9:8 NLT
In the difficult times, it is truly hard to be reminded Who is our Provider. When the bills come in and the money goes out and the names are changed to protect the ignorant, I find it hard to believe that God has provided for every single need. There are times we have to place our hands in the air and just say, “Thank you God that You know what is going on and that you have a plan in place for it.” For Sara and me, it has been difficult for us in this area. Our marriage has been awesome and has been filled with many blessings. However, people are not aware of the financial blows we have had in over a decade of marriage. We weren’t drowning in debt when we got married, but we weren’t swimming in the vault of cash either.
I don’t pretend to have all of the answers when it comes to God. I love the saying, “Results May Vary” because, in our lives, it certainly has varied. Many people know that six months after we were married, I lost my job and we were stranded in Memphis after a trip with no money because my car quit. I can remember my dear bride in tears worried that we were not going to get home. I remember the Lord saying to “tell no one.” I remember being frustrated with God and asking why were these things happening because being the man of the house, I should be able to least provide for my family. Of course, when you are in the middle of the field and it’s storming, you can’t see the growth of the seed beneath your feet.
Feast or Famine
Shortly before we got married, God dealt with me on giving. I hadn’t been much of a giver with exception of material things. I wouldn’t mind giving someone a piece of gum or a pencil if need be. I began to see that the Lord had a law in place in the area of giving. I also saw that the enemy had an attack in place in the order of giving. Many would say, “We are not under law.” Friend, you are always under a law. The law of gravity says what goes up must come down. The law of the land states that if you speed, you get a ticket (unless you are a smooth talker or great at getting out of it). The law of the land states to steal will land you in jail. Just as the law of the land, God’s word tell us if we give it is given back to us (see Luke 6:38) which is the law of sowing and reaping.
The Lord began to teach me that in order to reap a harvest; I had to begin planting seeds in my life.
Now, it’s not just a money thing but a heart thing. To give just to get is pointless. If you give to meet a need having the confident assurance of the return on your investment, then that is something totally different. The rich man was not denied entry into heaven because he didn’t give his money and processions; it was because his money and processions became his god. He relied on the harvest instead of the one who provided the seed and rain for the harvest.
God began to work on my heart in the area of giving in 2006. I moved from Memphis to St. Louis because I had a “feeling” that God was moving me. At that time, I had no real knowledge of the Holy Spirit but I knew I was home when I pulled into St. Louis. I had taken a job at a well-known university in the area and had secured my home near the Lambert International Airport. This is important so follow along. My wife and I had been dating for a short period of time and were getting ready to get married in a few months when the Lord began to change my heart on giving to the church. I never was a big giver like I mentioned either but I had knowledge of Malachi 3 where the Lord called the people thieves for withholding the tithe. I began tithing after that message. Not out of fear but out of respect for the Lord and what was truly His. That week three major events happened. I know, this is where I tell you that I ended up getting the biggest raise of my life, a new car, and a Rolex. This could not be farther from the truth.
At some point during the next few days, my tires were going bad on my car. I was driving down I-270 on my way to my part-time job and my tire blew. No big deal, I got it fixed and moved on. The next night I had gone shopping to pick up some groceries and someone followed me home. I thought nothing of it. I came out the next morning and my car had been broken into with contents missing. A few days later, I found myself outside again with yet the other tire on my car flat.
I know that this is to be encouraging to you but I need to be sure that you don’t get fooled into thinking that whenever you give your money to the church that things don’t happen. I hear a lot of well-meaning teachers of the word of God who says things like “you’ll never have problems if you tithe.” It’s not the truth. If it were, then I wouldn’t have had these things happen. My point is this; was this my ordeal or God’s? God owns it all and if He wants it working properly or whatever, He will take care of it. He will give me wisdom. In this famine, I found that God will supply all my needs according to His riches, not mine.
Over the next several years I watched my wife and I struggle. Most people would have given up by the time this was written after all the mess we had to happen to us. We had to decide that our seed was worth the harvest. We have seen time and time again God comes through in our lives in so many areas. We heard God in this area and knew He wanted us to trust Him in feast or famine.
In the season that we are in, we are waiting for that harvest to come in. We have sowed many a seed and thought that this could be the bumper crop that we have been waiting on to catapult our dream into reality. I recall being in the worship service at church and we took up an offering for the cameras in our church. This isn’t something of the ordinary for our Pastor to have this happen so I know it had to be from the Lord. At some point in this season, we both complained to the Lord about always giving and not receiving the full blessing. In this service, the Lord spoke to me in response to this complaint; “I provide seed to the one who sows. Don’t grow weary in doing what is right for in the due season, at that appropriate time, you will reap a harvest if you faint not. The farmer is always planting his seed. He doesn’t plant the seeds just once. He is constantly planting his seeds because he expects consistent years of harvesting.” The point of this is if you aren’t going to trust God in the famine – you’re not going to trust Him through the feast.”
What are you doing today to inch closer to trusting God in the famine?