These last few weeks have been weird. In this new year I find myself unemployed, a college graduate, and a seminary student-all “firsts” mind you. December 21st was my final day serving as Student Pastor at Sooner Baptist Church, December 12th was my last day as a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, and January 23rd I will be starting classes at the Southern Baptist Theological seminary. Crazy.
As I stepped down from my role as Student Pastor I found myself questioning God’s provision. Tithing has always been a hard discipline for me and as I knew a frequent paycheck was vanishing this distrust began to develop within my own heart.
As I cleaned out the desk in my office I found a tithe envelope with a check enclosed for our December tithe. A few months back I had determined that we would give to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering above and beyond our ten percent.
I quickly pressed the envelope into a box of other belongings, fully anticipating to throw it away and not give for the month. I continued cleaning and God began to press upon my heart the reason to which He called me to seminary, and that to doubt His provision would be to doubt His calling on my life and ultimately His goodness.
It was like He clearly spoke to me saying, “I’m taking care of you, not your paycheck.”
As I concluded packing up my belongings I knew that if I didn’t give our financial secretary the tithe envelope that I wouldn’t tithe. It was a choice to choose God’s goodness and provision or to distrust Him. —Now before I continue I want you to know that I, unfortunately, don’t follow God’s leading all the time. I’m working out this part of my salvation and through God’s Grace I will become more obedient, especially in this area– Reluctantly yet assuredly I gave our finance secretary the tithe envelope, and before I walked out the door she replied, “I have something for you. If you could come update my computer I will give it to you, and trust me you’ll want it.”It ended up being a check that a church member wanted Annie and I to have as we travel to Kentucky.
I know we’ve all heard Malachi 3:10
Bring the full tenth into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.
And I don’t make a bold proclamation that God will give you a certain percentage back on your tithe. I don’t believe that God is wanting to give us a return on investment in monetary value, but, I do know that God is a God who gives His children good gifts, He is a God that provides the needs of His children.
As I gave that tithe offering I gave more than a check. I gave Him my trust and obedience to trust Him in the unknown.
I mentioned earlier that I stepped down at Sooner Baptist, as I did it allowed Annie and I to spend the final three weeks at Edmond’s First Baptist Church. During Blake Gideon’s “State of the church” address he mentioned the word for 2015 is Provision. It was both a word of encouragement and a word of need.
Stepping out in faith to allow God to provide is scary, nerve-racking, and down right hard, but it is worth it. As I look at 2015 and all the first’s that await, I don’t know where I’ll work, where my pay check will come from, or when or where we’ll get groceries, but I know, that God’s provision will always be abundant. He is the source of all that we have and all that we need.
What are some ways that you can step out in faith in 2015 and rely on God’s provision?
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