Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Entering the scary place to follow

I've said it before and I'll say it again: it's funny how God works. Just when I think I've asked an impossible question to answer, He sends me an answer like it's nothing.

At the beginning of the summer I decided to read Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. It has been on my bucket list of books to read and I bought it on Amazon. Let me tell you, if you are looking for a good introduction into Christian reading, this book is meant for you. I knew that going into it, thinking it would be about steps in Christianity I have already surpassed. One (of many) aspects of Christianity Miller wrote about that I haven't put much effort in thinking about was giving back. He shares stories of his secular life that influenced his Christian life. The one that got me thinking was his conversation with a friend who faithfully gives 10% of his earnings to the church. He later inquires with another friend who works for a church about the importance of giving money rather than volunteering, prayer, etc. A topic I've been wanting to know the answer of for a while. I loved his response so let me share it.

"When we do what God wants us to do, we are blessed, we are spiritually healthy...By setting aside money from every check, you are trusting God to provide. He wants you to get over that fear-that fear of trusting Him. It is a scary place, but that is where you have to go as a follower of Christ..."

This hit home to me. I realized I haven't been giving to an organization that pushes for God's work on Earth, and just like Miller I have felt guilty about it. Now, I am still under my parents roof, with their checks going to my tuition and rent (which I'm forever grateful for) but that should be more reason for me to give some of the money I do have to Christ rather than to the cute shirt at the mall.

So I finished reading the book back in is close to the end of July...I'm embarrassed to say I still haven't given. I have been trying to figure out who to give to. I could do the church, like Miller did. I could do a Christian organization. I could do a homeless shelter. I could give to all of these places. How do I decide? Enter Winston and Father Gary.

Last Sunday, Father Gary spoke in his homily about how to decide who to give time, effort, or money to when there are so many worthy causes. It was based on the story of the Samaritan in the Bible who took care of the ill man on the road right in front of him. God's message isn't to wait to hear who you should help in the future, it is to help the person right in front of you, right now.

That person right in front of me is Winston, and his soon to be wife Alissa. I know Winston from Young Life camp and I can honestly say he is one of the most giving people I have ever met. After camp he gave two years of his life teaching in Tanzania because he felt it was where God was leading him. He met Alissa there and now at the end of the two years, he feels he is being called back. They will return with jobs that either don't pay or are not enough to cover their expenses. They are relying on prayer, donations and God to get them through. They are entering that scary place Donald Miller's friend spoke of.

It clicked. By giving to Winston and Alissa, I am relying on God. I am honoring his work on Earth. It won't be much, just as Miller didn't have much to give originally, but I can only be envious of Alissa and Winston for relying so faithfully on God they are getting rid of their fear that God won't provide.

I just love when God answers my prayer so blatantly that I have to laugh. I sat in church that day knowing He was sending an answer and I am so glad I was listening.