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Friday, May 2, 2014

Alignment

One of the realities of my life in a ministry is that I have to raise money to support what we do.  I do not like that task.  I am not a big fan of anything that is related to accounting.  That is strange because both my dad and my son are accountants.  Apparently that gene skips generations.
What happens when you align your tasks with the way God made you?  Thoughts at DTTB.
But I have to do it.  Just like there are things in your profession that you have to do that may not be your favorite thing.

So as I prayed through this it occurred to me that I needed to align this task both with the way the Lord wired me and with my passion.  That passion is, as Herman Cain say, in case you missed it, getting men into the Word.  So as an application from my current study of Jeremiah, I have been asking men what the Lord is teaching them in the Word.  That has launched some really great conversations.  After I reciprocate I begin to share how in the past six years the Lord has allowed me to equip several hundred men with tools to personally study the Word, on three continents.

Then in closing I emphasize that if I have a choice, I would much rather help the man with whom I am sharing learn to study the Word more effectively than have him give to the ministry.  That has led to opportunities to do just that.

So by aligning this task I really do not like with the way the Lord has put me together and with the passion He has given me it has become, well not my favorite activity, but it has become more of an extension of what I am driven to do.  Equip men to study on their own.

The Lord seems to be honoring the alignment.

2 comments:

  1. In my experience this is a common struggle, but not universal for all of those passionate about helping others spiritually. There are many gifted in the Body of Christ who give most of their energy to serving others who build overtly to others. The reality is, however, that most of us must exercise discipline to care for our families and put adequate food on the table through presenting to others the opportunity to provide materially for us..

    I have struggled with this, sometimes more, sometimes less for nearly 50 years now. I have had to go back to the Apostle Paul for inspiration and guidance many times. He seems to me to be a reluctant fundraiser, and there is very little indication he raised funds for himself. But God did supply, apparently in ways not particularly obvious. In my ongoing study of Acts I saw two things regarding this that struck me. One was in Ch.21:23, 24 and 26, Back in Jerusalem after his third missionary missionary journey he was asked to pay the expenses for four men who wanted to fulfill a vow and had no money themselves. Apparently he was able to do this, along with his own expenses. We know he worked when he needed to, and that his team would work while he spent full time in the ministry. We know he was also bringing funds from the churches in Greece to the needy believers in Jerusalem on this trip, but it is inconceivable that he would use that money.

    A second similar place was when he finally reached Rome although still incarcerated he lived for two years in what is described as "in his own rented quarters," or something like, "at his own expense," depending on the translation.

    Where did the necessary funds come from? Perhaps his men with him worked. We can't really say for sure, but it seems likely at least some of it was from donations for him personally that came from some of the people he ministered to. We know this was true for the assembly in Philippi (Ch.4:10-20). Apparently he had not solicited funds, but they well knew his lifestyle of material sacrifice so perhaps he didn't actually need to say anything.

    Certainly, the Philippian passage clearly shows Paul's heart of willingness to rejoice in abundance or need. And it seems to me that his heart is most clearly seen in v.17: "...I seek for the profit which increases to your account." He wanted the blessing for them, always thinking first of the people God had given him; their giving was another avenue for them to experience the blessing of God.

    One implication for this is, when I invited people to have a material part in my ministry, if God is leading them, it is tied firmly to their eternal benefit.

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    Replies
    1. Good stuff I have been reading Henri Nouwen's monograph, The Spirituality of Fund Raising (http://tiny.cc/yw5efx), quite a bit. In there he reminded me of that which I already knew, "Fund-raising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission."

      Paul shared in Philippians 1 that the believers in that church participated in the gospel and the grace of Paul's ministry and that it was credited to their account.

      I have seen that worked out on multiple occasions. I know it but it is still hard for me.

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