“Well, that’s the last paycheck for now!”
My husband handed me the deposit paperwork and smiled at me. “I’m excited. I wonder what God is going to do this time!”
Yup, and actually, I am too. If I’ve learned anything over the last many years, it’s that God is faithful.
Being in full-time ministry, we have a very concrete understanding of the term, “non-profit.” If people ask, we usually say we’re “home-based missionaries on support.” Actually, our ministry pays Pete a salary… but only if there’s money in the account. Right now, the account is empty. Again.
Living on the financial edge means there is little to obscure God’s provision for us. He is so creative! I’m not sure He’s ever come up with resources in the same way twice. One time, we got a phone call from someone we hadn’t heard from in probably 25 years, offering to buy Pete’s share of a company we didn’t know we owned. That paid the bills for a couple of months!
Another time we were within minutes of sending an email that would mothball our ministry. All Pete had to do was hit “send.” It was mid-morning, so our co-worker went to check the mail one more time. There were some letters. The first one had a check in it for $500. Wow! That’s wonderful, but it wasn’t enough to pay the office rent, much less the medical insurance or some paychecks. The second letter contained a check for $5,000. Praise God! Now we could last a few more weeks. Then they opened the third envelope. It contained a donation that would cover our ministry expenses for the next six months! God’s sense of timing can be hair-raising, but He’s never let us down.
Lately, God has provided an income through a few consulting contracts that not only benefited us financially, they provided experience in applying the Godly principles Pete has been learning to real-life business situations. Our clients’ expectations have been exceeded and God has received the credit. (To learn more, visit ICTA’s website.)
We could tell dozens of stories about how God has come through to support us in His work. You can see why we aren’t losing sleep over our present lack of funding.
Frequently, this type of income is called “living by faith.” But that seems arbitrarily selective. Aren’t all believers to live by faith? Just because God uses a regular paycheck or blesses a business that provides for our needs, it’s still His provision. We should never put our faith in our bank balance.
I admit, I prefer to have a steady income. It’s hard to budget when paychecks are so erratic. For example, Christmas is coming, and I don’t know how much to spend on gifts. But my discomfort is more a result of my desire to be in control than in God’s lack of faithfulness. Sure, a budget is a useful tool, and I recommend using one. There are times, however, when God wants us to skip the budget (or any other planning device) and go directly to Him. Instead of checking a spreadsheet, I need to pray—and I need to listen carefully to His answers.
So here we are… no income, plenty of outgo, and a huge sense of anticipation.
I’ll be sure to let you know what God does this time.