Over the past few years, God has led me to part ways with many of my possessions. For one thing, doing so made sense in terms of moving. I didn't want to pack up stuff I didn't need or want. I didn't want to be burdened with excess stuff to organize and clean up each day either. Also, God was teaching me that possessions don't make me happy. In teaching me this, God also has been teaching me that I can live on less. I don't need new clothing to keep up with the latest styles. I don't need to shop or browse for new things to fill my home. In fact, if you do see me on a shopping trip, you'll notice me putting back at least half of the items I originally selected.
I am not saying this to brag. I am pointing out God's work in my life. I used to love shopping. When I was (much) younger, I prided myself on wearing a different outfit each school day during a 9 week period. Now you'll see me wearing the same few outfits over and over, and I am okay with that, most of the time. I don't need much in terms of clothing. What I don't spend on clothing can be spent on. . . .
Well, that's where it gets sticky. Right now, our income is very low because we're in the process of raising support. We haven't met our monthly support goal yet. (We're at about 8 percent.) Living on less helps that situation be a bit easier. But ultimately, my dream would be that living on less will enable us to give more, to be more generous. If I am not consuming so much buying gas, clothing and gadgets for my kitchen, what could I give? Whom could I support in ministry? I've already got a list, and it's growing.
I have been praying off and on that God will show me how I can be generous when I don't seem to have money to give. Since I have lived in Fort Collins, I have given food to beggars when I encounter them. We limit the amount of clothing our kids have/keep. They give away what they do not need, even new items. Sometimes we give our time, even when time seems like a precious resource. I prayed again today for God to show me how I can give when my income is limited. I want to be more generous.
Here are a few ways that others have been generous with us. We have received so much more than we have given.
- Within 3 weeks of moving here, Maitlyn broke her arm. A Christian family we had just met gave us money toward part of her medical bill.
- We loaned our car to a friend. It clearly needed new brakes. The friend returned the car to us along with a gift certificate to a local mechanic to get the brakes replaced.
- One of our first monthly support commitments came from a family who is raising support themselves.
- God, is his generosity, provided a home for us here in Ft. Collins which we rent very reasonably (less than the market rate, for sure). This home is twice the size of our home in Arkansas. We don't want to fill this home with more stuff. We pray that we can use this wonderful space for God's glory, hosting a Township in our home and showing hospitality in the name of Christ.
By letting go of things, I learned to demolish the idol of stuff. By taking a risk and moving to a new place, I learned to trust God for His provision. Now in raising support, I am getting to trust Him even more. In our home, it's truly a day by day thing. Give us this day our daily bread.
I want to lay up treasures in heaven. Even though I have learned much, I want God to show me ways I still worship the idol of stuff. I have a long way to go. God, help me to remember that this world is not my home and that I am only a steward of all the resources You provide. Change me for Your glory. Make me generous.