What I write about below isn’t anything new; however, it is something that the Lord has been teaching me of late.
After several years of working myself to the bone and feeling as if I was getting nowhere financially and personally, this last February God spoke to my husband and I both about me resigning from my comfortable, well-paying job without any prospective job lined up. This was incredibly scary, and I had never taken this large of a step of faith and obedience before. We would be losing the majority of our income that we had come to find so much (unhealthy) security in, and we still have a significant amount of student debt with additional financial and personal goals we are saving for.
Although I had a lot of fear about making this decision, after much prayer and seeking advice from people we trust—and after reworking our household budget—I put in my resignation and left my job five weeks later.
Ever since I took that step of faith and obedience, I have been absolutely astounded in the ways that God has provided for us. I mean, I pretty much cry out of gratefulness and amazement every day. I am ashamed and embarrassed that I would ever doubt His provision and faithfulness, especially after seeing the amazing work He has done in our lives over the past couple of months.
I now am working part-time in a job that I love and am so grateful for. In addition, I now have the time and energy to put towards goals that God has put on my heart.
We now have 60% less income, but somehow have more available to us than we ever did with me working 50+ hours a week. Sure, our budget is tight and we have cut back on what we can save each month and going out to eat, etc., but we have more than enough. We have plenty. Dare I say it, we might be wealthy—in good things other than money. To my amazement, we still somehow have extra, where many others do not.
For so very many years, Jesus has been teaching me about the beauty of waiting on Him, listening for His voice, living simply and budgeting wisely, living with/on less, and that the best gift He could give me is Himself. All of a sudden, Nick and I have entered a time of ridiculously beautiful provision from God, and He is now teaching me that the Christian life is inherently one of abundance—abundance in that we will always, always have what we need, even if it doesn’t look like what the world says we need or look like what we want. Jesus is always faithful.
During this season of incredible provision by the grace of God, I have come to realize that if I lost everything—every single thing I own or have saved and stored up for the future—I would still be living with plenty. If I lost everyone that ever cared for me, I would still be loved with a severity that can never be understood or explained completely. Dear reader, you may think I am absolutely removed from reality or am being overly religious/spiritual, but knowing Jesus and being loved by Him has completely transformed my world.
If this is all true—that I am actually living in abundance and my God will always faithfully provide—and if our hope and security is not in material gain but in Jesus, this should cause me to live a life of radical, unusual generosity. This means life is not about storing and gathering things for the self, but about giving whatever you can to others, serving whoever you can with the gifts you have been given. Whether I am a Christian that lives in a tiny apartment, a run down shack, a comfortable home, or a mansion, I should choose to be generous. As a follower of Christ, whether I have a job where I make six figures and have solid investments for my lifetime, live on a modest public-servant salary and have three kids, or am living paycheck to paycheck, I should choose to be generous however I can.
I am to be generous not only to my family and friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but even to the individuals who I will never get a thank you card from, maybe even to people that will take advantage of my generosity. I am to be generous not only with my finances, but with my sweat and muscle and time. I should be generous to those who are financially in need, and even to those who have more than they need financially. I should be generous to those that I like, and—gasp!—to those I do not like or who do not like me.
Choosing to live a life of generosity is evidence that our faith, hope, and confidence are placed in the hands of a mighty, loving, and all-powerful God and not in the temporary things of this world.
In reality, we cannot give to every little cause that we get a flyer for in our mailbox. But as Christians, we absolutely must make more room for generosity in our lives whatever our income level or time of life. I have learned that if I seek Him and if I listen to the Holy Spirit, He will direct me where and when to give–it may look like making additional room for financial giving in our monthly budgets or purposely making space for being generous with our time in our schedules.
All in all, if we honestly, truly believe that the Gospel is truth and Jesus is King, we have absolutely nothing to worry about losing—we should be moved to live a life of radical obedience, generosity, faithfulness, service, and grace towards all.
Myself included! I am so very convicted of this.
Lord, please show me how to be more like you–that I would learn to be generous with my resources that you yourself have so graciously provided! You never withhold your grace or your goodness, and I have benefitted greatly from your kindness and mercy towards me. Help me to have a faith solidly grounded in You and not of the things I gather and store up for myself. Help direct me in ways to be generous that are honoring to You.
1 Timothy 6:17-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.