Have you tried to barter for anything lately? Not likely. Zig Ziglar once said, “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.” Lately, I have watched the news of the financial crisis with great interest. Being in Europe, and not yet knowing Finnish, we are not constantly bombarded with the news; we are able to choose our sources. Lately, I have made a practice of reading www.HS.fi, www.BBC.com, www.jpost.com, and www.foxnews.com. Occasionally, I’ll also hit www.cnn.com, but their bias hurts my sensibilities. By doing this, I get the following viewpoints: Nordic, mainland Europe/British, Jewish, and US. Each has differing vantage points.
One thing is certain; the entire world is worried about mammon (money). Do you fall into this category? Is this a major concern for yours? I confess that the world’s events can cause trepidation in my mind from time to time. There is a real problem, and it seems that no one has the answer. In Proverbs 22:7, the Bible states that the borrower is the servant of the lender. Matthew 6:24 states that “No man can serve two masters…” Which master are you serving: God or mammon?
The economic situation has placed many Christians in a quandary. Although they may have been diligent in their decision making and were careful to not become “under water,” a job loss or emergency has forced them into a position of needing to make tough decisions in their spending. As a missionary, we are dependent on the giving of others, and are acutely aware of the fragility of the economy. As one who attempted to live the “American dream,” we are also aware of the load of debt many carry. Many times in the past, we wondered how we were going to make ends meet because the already stretched paycheck was suddenly forced to cover an unexpected trip to the doctor or auto mechanic.
Why am I writing this? Many may consider those in our role to be “super-spiritual” and above these concerns. I assure you, we are just as human as you. I am writing because I want to share some insight that may help someone to see that the seemingly bleak situation can be overcome!
Months into our first deputation, we pulled into California listening to the announcement that the housing bubble had burst. In that state alone, at least one in five mortgages were at risk of foreclosure. I was faced with the dilemma of asking people to buy into the vision God gave me by agreeing to support us with funds they did not think they had. Now, I worked with sales most of my adult life, but I am not a good salesman. My enemy told me it was over, that the dream that I had lived for seven years was dead. Thankfully, God reminded me that He had called me and that He would provide our financial needs.
I proved Him to be true. He did provide, and today I sit in Finland writing this blog as a testament of His provision! Am I different than you? Absolutely not! God has a plan for each of us. Ours just happens to allow us to be in Finland. Yours may involve you being where you are right now. You see, the answer lies in ownership. Who owns your life, God or mammon? Sound harsh? Look at the original Greek. Servant = slave. As soon as I resolved that I am a slave of Christ, decisions became easier. I simply followed His guidance. When the outlook was dim and someone would ask how we were going to survive, my answer became, “God’s word says that the laborer is worthy of his hire. God has called me. I am doing what he has told me to do. Therefore, He must take care of me.” Were there some tough times? You don’t have the time for me to tell you all of our stories. I can assure you that Jesus allowed our faith to be tested several times.
Before his death, Joshua gathered all the Israelites together and reminded them of the miraculous deliverance that God had performed. He reminded them of the Law of Moses and warned them of the consequences of not following God’s Law. And then, he confronted them with the following statement, “Choose you this day whom you will serve…” I ask you, whom will you serve? Will you live in fear, knowing that your master, money, will eventually fail you? Or, will you live in confidence that your Jehovah-Jireh will “supply all your needs?”
I stand with Joshua in stating that, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” I invite you to join me. My God cannot fail!
Proverbs 22:7 (KJV) The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Joshua 24:15 (KJV) And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Matthew 6:24 (KJV) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Luke 10:7 (KJV) And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
Philippians 4:19 (KJV) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.