The Matthew 6 Dare – Conclusion

If you missed any of the other entries in this story, here are the links to them:

So it looks like it is time to end this little tale.  Michelle and I have been trying to gather our thoughts on what we learned and figuring out the point of going through the last month.  And I don’t think we’re going to be able to come to a full conclusion for a bit.  We are thinking that the impact of this September will be felt into October and possibly beyond.  Kind of like how we have groceries stuffed into our cupboards and piled on top of them; so much that we won’t need to buy more for a while in October.

There is also a feeling that the story isn’t done yet.  Do you remember when we had that feeling after I had quit my job a year and a half ago?  That is the only way I can describe what I am experiencing now.  There is still more to come!

I was talking with a friend and mentor yesterday about what we did see this month.  I (stupidly) lamented how I thought the blessings and provisions of God were going to be so much bigger than what we saw.  He apparently took that a little personal, and rightfully so. He got up and went to the nearby white board and asked me the following questions:

“How much money did you have to start the month?”

“$1700” I answered.

“And how much in bills did you have to pay with that money?”

“Um, $1400 for rent.  $230 for health insurance, $200 for electricity…” I tailed off as he wrote those numbers on the board.  I could see what was so obvious but yet I was ignoring it.

“And how much was the gift of hockey for Jared worth?  $1500 or so?  And all those groceries in your kitchen?  And the ones that you bought through out the month?  And the gas?”

As I was slumping down in my chair out of shame, I had to give God a lot of credit.  A LOT. Even though we didn’t see anything that we would consider massive, the sheer fact that we survived this month without running up the credit card or angering utility companies, etc was a miracle.

So no, we didn’t have a “blow your mind and make you say ‘Did that just happen?'” experience (yet).  But wow, my God showed up and kept his promise to provide my needs.

Entering into October, our finances appear to be back to “normal”.  Normal being about 70% of our budget which means we are somewhere between $500 and $1000 short.  So we can’t buy tires for the van, yet.  Or a second car, yet.  Are we going to put money in a savings account?  Nope.  Will we survive?

Yes.

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Update: I wrote the above about a week and a half ago.  But I read it over and wanted to add more.  So here’s more!

I am loving the irony that I am releasing the conclusion of this story on (Canadian) Thanksgiving day.  Michelle and I are SO incredibly thankful for what we experienced last month and what we are seeing now.  There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that God is real; He challenged us to give what we gave and He is not a liar.  He provided.  Just like He promised in Matthew 6.  We had everything we needed and we even received a little extra!

Michelle and I also had the opportunity to sit down this morning and record a few of the things that have happened in the last week.  Here is a quick snap shot:

  • We received news of a couple fairly generous gifts
  • Michelle drove a few of her choir members to the prison (for a concert) and they gave her gas money.  It was about nine times more than what was used.
  • I was leading a tour around Houston and the owner of where we were eating handed me $20 because as he said, “I love what you do”.  I had just met him 2 minutes earlier.
  • We brought the donuts to our bible study class on Sunday.  There were quite a few left over and as Michelle was coming down the stairs (and I was getting excited about how many of them I was going to eat that afternoon) a man commented on the box in her hands.  “Did you want one?” Michelle asked.  He replied, “Actually, I need to get some for my class.  Can I buy those?” And then he handed Michelle $5 and took the donuts.  I wish I could’ve seen my face as I watched my donuts walk away with someone who was not me.  (I didn’t know what had just happened.)
THE GUY BOUGHT OUR HALF EATEN BOX OF DONUTS!  Which prompted Katria to loudly yell in church “Thanks God!”

That sums it up, doesn’t it?

I also want to add how much peace Michelle and I have now.   We started the month with about $150 to use for expenses, but were not the least bit concerned.  $150?  Piece of cake!  My God promised He will provide all my needs and He has proven it.

That’s my God.  He is not a liar.  We encourage you to dig into the Bible and see what He has said.  It is all true.

//RD

 

The Matthew 6 Dare – Part 7

Wouldn’t these have been better if we had catchy titles instead of “Part 1456”?  Something funny, witty and deeply insightful?  The “Matthew 6 Dare” itself is kind of cool, right?  I won’t mention that it was the first thing that came to mind and we didn’t feel like working any harder on coming up with something even better.  Scratch that.  The “Matthew 6 Dare” is very cool and sounds like the title to a book that millions of people would buy!

And don’t worry, we’re almost done!  Your courage in sticking with these for an entire week is commendable!  As always, here are each of the previous parts if you just stumbled across this story today.  And if you did, welcome!

//RD

September 24, 2012

Michelle and I had a pretty emotional time of trying to understand why this month has been so different than we expected it to be.  The lessons we thought we were to learn haven’t seemed to be the ones we are being taught.  And we started to key on how open we have (or haven’t) been with those around us with our needs.

Which is a really tough question.  As mentioned before, each time we have been open we have been provided for but we really wanted to stay closed except before God and let Him go.  Blah, blah, blah avoiding being a leach or burden… I don’t want to type this all again.

Today Michelle let me know another lady was going to bring some groceries by after she was done work.  This makes two since we put that one word on our bible study’s prayer list: “groceries”.  Of course, people are asking questions as to why we haven’t said anything to this point.  One of the other reasons as to why we haven’t told many people what we’ve been going through this month is our nature to be quiet since “no one really wants to hear us complain about our poverty again”.  It really is a thing that we and many other missionaries deal with.  “Oh boy, the missionaries are asking for money again.”

So I challenged Michelle to try and be more open today, if the questions are being asked.  She agreed that this is most likely a “thing” that we are being challenged on.  So as one of ladies picked her up this morning and took her to HEB for groceries, the lady thanked Michelle for being open and allowing our class to actually grow closer together.  One of the major dysfunctions of a church, or any Christian community is their inability (or perhaps lack of desire) to care for each other.  And by being open we had given our group a chance to come closer together and be more of the family that we were supposed to be.

I guess I can accept that this may have been something that God was trying to do in this situation as well!

September 26, 2012

A couple days ago we received some groceries from a friend from church.  I forgot to mention that another lady dropped by after a trip to Sam’s Club.  Have you ever gotten groceries at Sam’s Club (or Costco)?  I guess a few families in our bible study at church got together to purchase groceries.  And now our kitchen cupboards are not only full, we have stuff stacked on top of ALL of our cupboards!  There was so much that we had to turn around and give some away because there wasn’t a chance we were going eat all that fruit and drink all that milk!

Later that evening another lady stopped by with a card with $100 in it.  The note in the card started the process of confirming what we were starting to see.  Here’s the quick summary of the note:

“Thank you for being open and letting us take care of you like the church in Acts”

And there we have it.  Was this month all about trusting God?  It would seem that it was not 100% about that.  Looks like we also had a mandate of learning about letting others provide for us.  Which means that this lesson is not going to be over when September ends.

I also logged into our donation tracking website for the first time this month.  Honestly, I was half expecting and 75% hoping that there would be some crazy big gift that would allow us to buy a car.  There wasn’t.  But it wasn’t zero.  We also got the report for our Canadian gifts and again, I was hoping for something crazy to happen and it didn’t.  But combined, it looks like October is going to be more like our normal month.  Tight, but enough.  We won’t be putting money away in a savings account and at this exact moment I don’t know how we’ll buy tires for the van, but I guess that will happen later.

I heard an interesting quote yesterday at a conference:

“God doesn’t command us to save.  He commands us to give.”