“A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.”
Lately, our finances have not met the usual expectations. The tithing has been extremely low because the summer calls for people to use their money for their vacations. Or they have family gatherings, that means they are not attending our weekly meetings. Yet the demands of the ministry the last couple of years have been stronger than ever! As a matter of fact, there has been such a drain on the finances that they are nearly depleted. This is none of your affair or problem, and this is NOT a plea for anyone to send any funding to us. I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea. I just want to share the thought process of a pastor when things get so uncomfortably lean.
We are an extremely small ministry. People call us all the time needing their groceries, diapers, gasoline for their vehicles, places to spend the night while in transition, or their utility bills paid. When we saw our funds dwindling, we knew God was going to bring in the finances to replenish them, it was only going to be a matter of time. From time to time we get a little bit of a boost, but it is not nearly what “we consider” is enough. However, the Lord seems to meet our bills EVERY month, so He continues to prove He is faithful. We just aren’t having the luxury of having any extra. So our thoughts go from one extreme to the other. It first starts out very optimistic. Then, we start to think that maybe we are not doing God’s will and He is punishing us. When we check our hearts and spirits and we get a smile from our Heavenly Father, we know we are doing EXACTLY what the Lord is calling us to do. Then we get caught up in our flesh. We begin to compare our financial situation to how the other ministries in the area APPEAR to be faring.
When we look at some of the other ministries in the area, they are building new additions on their churches; a couple of them are buying new jets; others have new vehicles and moving into new homes. We are working just as hard if not harder and yet it just doesn’t seem fair! Then it hits us that we have fallen into the trap of the devil. We begin to covet things that our “neighbors” have attained. It is at this time we begin to come to our senses. We realize what we are doing is a sin (Deut. 5:21), and we repent. We take the vain imaginations captive and we reel in our faith. We remind ourselves the Lord has ALWAYS provided for us and we are lacking NOTHING! Then, we start taking inventory of our blessings which FAR OUT WEIGH the things we consider to be our sorrows. This, immediately, carries the fear and feeling of lack right out of our minds. We start praising the Lord and fill our hearts with gratefulness.
It never benefits us to compare ourselves to others. Being envious of people around us will trap us in the snare of the devil EVERY single time! So please beware of the anguish this can cause. The Lord brings and blesses us with joy, don’t let the enemy steal it with a covetous spirit. Counting your own blessings and not those of others will keep us on the righteous path and in a state of contentment. If we keep our focus on the Lord, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). When we do this, we find that we have TREASURES untold, treasures that are PRICELESS! Treasures the world will NEVER be able to attain. Be content with what the Lord has given us and know that the Lord will NEVER leave you (Hebrews 13:5).