This Sunday, Pastor Gunn hit me pretty hard.
His sermon was on 2 Corinthians 9:7. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
His sermon focused on Giving. The sermon was meant to challenge people to be faithful in their financial giving (one of the few times Pastor Gunn has probably ever preached on money).
Giving, and Giving faithfully was a lesson I learned growing up in the family I did. I continue to watch my parents give sacrificially. When I was young I witnessed them give when they didn't have it to give, and then watched God bless them. They still give of their time, money, cars, home, anything they have they will give to those around them.
So. . .I learned that you can absolutely NOT outgive God. It is not possible. What He gives in return is so much more than we can imagine. I have also learned, that what I think I have, is not really mine. The house, the cars, the clothes, the tiny bit of savings, the boat (that I dream about but don't really own) all of it. I don't own it. He does. It is sooooooo not mine. I have nothing without HIM.
So I was kindof cruising through the sermon, thinking yep! check me off! I am good on this. I would give it all.
Then the Holy Spirit sat right down beside me, and made me realize I don't have "it" all. While I am ready to give my house, the used cars, the 700 pounds of scrapbooking paper, the little bit of cash I have, I am trying to hold on to other things.
See, I have been struggling the last 2 weeks. I thought I was so ready to just pack up and go, and where HE leads my family, there we will be. But, I have been scared. REALLY scared.
Scared about my girls.
I have worried about their safety, what there little eyes might see, about giving up their political freedom, their freedom to run and play in a yard without a guard or barbed wire fence, worried about their innocence, worried they won't like the food where we go, worried that I can't keep them safe and innocent.
Worried about them.
So this Sunday when the Holy Spirit sat down beside, I got "it".
I need to be a generous giver . . . with my girls.
Because they are not mine either. They are HIS. And how much more HE loves them. HE is the one who holds them in HIS hand. They aren't mine, I can't do any of the things without HIM.
So needless to say, I had to go to the alter. OK, I had to crawl to the alter. I am sure it was not a pretty site. All those tears, red face, snot dripping down. I could barely breath through the tears. Have you ever been there?
I can imagine that the people around me thought "Sister, just pay your tithes already"
I am still fighting back tears as I write this. Because this is such a hard thing. I mean. . . outloud I say, Lord I trust you. I trust that you will take care of my family. (I trust that you can help me find matching bows and dresses in the village trade shop). I trust you will watch over my girls. . .But in my heart there is a strong battle waging.
I am no Abraham. How in the world did he walk that little boy to the altar? I am no way comparing my applying to be a missionary to what Abraham did, please don't think that. But the sacrifice and the battle that must have taken place in Abraham. Unbelievable.
He was a generous giver.
Please Holy Spirit, help me be a generous giver. With All I have.