The other day Steve and I were discussing future retirement options. We both joined the staff of New Tribes Language Institute about the same time. Both of us were plugged straight into a ministry with no opportunity to first raise our support. The Lord has been faithful to raise the level of my support from those early days, but it has been a real test of faith over the years.
Steve jokingly stated that if we had to depend upon Social Security for our retirement, then we may end up eating cat food during our golden years. But our dependence is not upon Uncle Sam to provide for our needs. God is our Provider and He will remain faithful. He is our steadfast Rock and we can stand firm upon His promises. He will take care of His children.
I need to be reminded of that from time to time since my pessimistic personality has a tendency to look at the cup as being “half empty” instead of “half full.”
O, Me of Little Faith!
In Matthew 6:30, Jesus rebuked His disciples with a stinging question: “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”
As I've contemplated my own future, those words have been a challenge to my heart.
Since I was not able to raise support in those early days, I only have two churches that regularly contribute to my ministry today. All the rest of my support comes from family and friends. Many of those dear supporters are either retired or approaching retirement. It's very difficult to give toward the needs of others on a limited income. I'm so very thankful for all who sacrificially contribute to my ministry.
In the last year, I've lost several financial supporters. We all find ourselves in circumstances from time to time where we are simply unable to give to the Lord's work. That's certainly understandable. But losing part of your support base can certainly make a pessimistic heart troubled!
Before You Call, I Will Answer!
This morning as I was driving back from the grocery store, my mind once again turned to my monetary dilemma. My troubled heart asked, “what does the future hold?” I mused, “well at least this morning I didn't have to buy any cat food for meals!” I caught myself once again looking at the cup “half empty.” I had to remind
myself of God's faithfulness in my life over the years. I'd lost financial partners in the past. It seems like every time that happened, God faithfully raised up others in their place.
After putting away the groceries, I decided to check my email. As my messages were downloading, I noticed an email from someone named “Karen.” The subject line was simply entitled “support.” Only minutes before, my heart was in turmoil about that very subject. I hadn't even sorted out all my thoughts and feelings enough to verbalize a prayer to my Heavenly Father and here is a perfect stranger emailing me about “support!” I quickly opened the email and read Karen's message through misty eyes. It seems Karen had “stumbled across” my website and was encouraged by reading a few articles that I wrote about God's grace. The Lord had laid it upon her heart to begin contributing mont hly to my ministry.
Immediately I was reminded of Isaiah 65:24 “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
Whenever I see the cup “half empty” I need to realize that God is the One who holds the pitcher of water!
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