For me (Jody), the most thought-provoking part of this excellent book was the chapter on generosity. The author quotes Earl Pitts, a Canadian YWAM worker: “The Kingdom of God’s system of finances is giving and receiving. The world’s system is buying and selling.” Key aspects of buying and selling are control and independence. “We keep our resources to ourselves and exchange with reciprocity, a measured transaction of equal value.”
Buying and selling isn’t bad–it’s a necessary part of life. But as Christians we are to give preference to giving and receiving. The economy of giving and receiving begins with God, who gives us the free gift of salvation. All that we have comes from His hand. We can never earn or pay back His grace. In response, we are to give generously to others without expecting something in return. We are also to receive graciously from others that which we haven’t earned and can’t pay back.
I struggle much more with the receiving than the giving. Receiving is very humbling and challenging, especially when I know the giver has sacrificed to give. I lose my independence and control. The economy of the Kingdom of God does not feel very comfortable when I’m on the receiving end.
I don’t know why God has me struggling with this right now, but I can think of some possibilities:
- to drive me deeper into the reality of God’s grace and provision–do I really accept how dependent I am on Him?
- to teach me about interdependence and community
- to create compassion for the recipients of my giving–to understand that they may feel a loss of control and independence too, especially if they have little opportunity to give to others
- to prepare me for our service in Ecuador when our livelihood will depend on others donating to HCJB Global for our ministry
I don’t have any answers yet–I’ll be chewing on this for awhile. I have a feeling, though, that God is pushing us to stake our future on His faithfulness–to trust the economic dynamics of His kingdom.
(Both quotes are from Friend Raising: Building a Missionary Support Team That Lasts, Betty Barnett, YWAM Publishing: 1991, p. 39.)