What you do with money in a time of struggle is exactly what you would do with it in a season of prosperity because good stewardship is a matter of the heart. Only God can evaluate a man’s stewardship, because He alone knows whether or not you have been obedient to Him with your resources. Jesus illustrated this truth in his story known as the parable of the Talents. It wasn’t the amount each man was given, but what he did with it that mattered. Joyful generosity is only possible when someone has been liberated from the fear of not having enough by a revelation of God the Father’s love.
When Bill was in seminary, I worked for 2 years in the public schools in that city. The third year, I got a job as a secretary at a cement plant. The position brought a better pay- check and benefits like health insurance. A few months after I got the new job, I became pregnant with our daughter, Sarah. I enjoyed the new job for a few months until I lost it because of a corporate layoff of salaried employees.
I remember the room I was in just after I’d heard the news; when out of nowhere, I felt the peace of the Lord inside. I was amazed. I had the inner sensation of resting in God’s arms. He had led Bill and me to the place where we were. We had left our teaching jobs in an- other state for Bill to go to seminary. We had sought His Kingdom first and knew that our Heavenly Father would provide. I didn’t have to strain to believe, God gave me a special impartation of faith for that setback. A few months later, I was back at work at the same job, but I had learned that I could trust God to provide.
Two years later, we left everything behind again to move to Pittsburgh, pa to pastor a struggling congregation of around 15 people. It was the only door that opened to a “charismatic” couple in our denomination. Six months after our arrival, the denomination discovered that we were charismatic and took away all but $187 per month of our funding. Once again, the Lord affirmed us and provided. We’ve been in Pittsburgh for almost 33 years and haven’t missed a meal.
The call God has placed on our lives has never brought us wealth. We don’t know what we are going to do in our old age, but because of the seasons we have endured, we have learned that God can be trusted. Our faith has grown because experiencing financial reverses has taught us that God is trustworthy.
Now there is a worldwide recession. Last year before the slump began, we kept feeling like we should take our little bit of savings and pay off all credit card debt. It was such a relief to be free of owing anything. We didn’t realize until recently that the Lord was the author of that impression. He was preparing us.
The past fifteen years of renewal have filled our lamps with the oil of joy, and we have watched as God has provided a new house for us and supplied our daily bread. Although renewal hasn’t filled our coffers, it has filled us with something better, the knowledge that God will provide our needs.
I believe that renewal was not optional. Financial struggles were not optional, either. They were seasons where I learned to trust so that I can rest now in my Heavenly Father’s promise to sustain me in these coming days.
Originally Published March/April 2009 Editor Melinda Fish
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