Here is the first entry that we wrote in our Matthew 6 Dare diary. For the next few days we’ll post the entries we wrote as we were going through the month of September responding to a financial challenge from God.
If you didn’t read the introduction, I suggest you read it first. You can find it here: Matthew 6 Dare Introduction. Also, to ensure you don’t miss a day, please sign up for the email notifications on the right hand menu —————————->
August 26, 2012
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Mathew 6:25-34
This verse has been driving me nuts for about a year and a half. And it’s time to do something about it.
Michelle and I have been getting frustrated with the lack of provision we feel like we have experienced in the last while, even though we do have a lot. It seems like we never have enough, but yet we do always have just enough. We’ve been praying for a 2nd vehicle and 100% support for months with no apparent answer. But God has been pushing us in a direction we didn’t see coming even days ago.
We had put aside a few thousand dollars from the sale of our house a year ago as emergency savings. We’ve used some for “emergencies”, some for different purchases (t-shirts) and some to help us get through the tight months. So after a year it is now down to $1000 and I am incredibly reluctant to use it. “What if we need it for an emergency?”
We also had taken some of our tax refund ($2500) and planned to use it to buy a car. We almost did get a car, but then through what we believe was God moving the car we wanted was sold and we didn’t find another. And then we had to fix the van, again. And pay off some bills. And now we’re down to $1000 of that money left.
Have you ever tried to buy a used car in Houston? $1000 doesn’t do it. So we’ve been begging God to give us a car since $1000 will only buy garbage. And we haven’t received a response.
The challenge came to me a couple days ago (Friday) and I shared it with Michelle. We had “reached” 70% of our monthly financial budget (even though we don’t typically receive all the pledges each month) and we want to get to 100%. And I felt that God was pushing us to increase our giving. And our giving wasn’t small I guess, compared to our income for sure. But I knew it was time to give more. Michelle and I agreed to increase our monthly commitment to some friends working overseas.
Then God pointed to the $2000 we were holding on to.
“Get rid of it”, He kept telling me.
“Huh? That money is for emergencies and for the car you are going to give us.”
“Get rid of it. Don’t you trust me?”
“Well ya I do.” The “sort of” always remained unspoken. Sad, really. I knew His promise to ensure me and my family would have enough but the more I looked at my actions I could see that I was not really living it. I have been depending on that savings account, even though I could never come up with a good reason to use it.
So the challenge has come again. Give that $2000 away and let God prove once and for all that He will provide. Get rid of the remaining safety cushion we have and hold on tight.
I should also note that we are facing an apparently tight financial month due to low giving numbers. Our budget says we need about $3300 each month after taxes and tithes to live. Most months we get about $2500. This month it looks like we have around $2200. Rent is just over $1400, health insurance is $240, electricity was $200 last month (stupid Texas heat), and then there are the food, gas for the van, school stuff, etc that happen every month. So if you are counting (and I am!), we have at least $1800 in expenses with $2200 in cash. That last $400 will be all we have for the entire month to feed the family, drive them around and pay for any unexpected things. (I know I am forgetting plenty of other expenses too.)
“Trust me Ryan. I got this.”
God has been saying these words over, and over, and over again to me. Now it is time to do it. We just gave away the $1000 of our “savings” to a friend who went on a bunch of mission trips and was trying to pay for them. Next up, the left over money that was to be for a car. We’re still trying to work that out on where it goes. Most of it will be going towards the GFM Houston van project. Lead by example I guess? I can’t shake the fact that we should use some of it to clear out the credit card debt that crept in last month with the super tight finances. I also want to ensure the kids can do some of the fun things coming up this month: a youth event for Chelsey ($50) and AWANA for Jared and Katria. I hope it is ok that we take some of that money to provide good things for the kids? $1000 – $271 owing on the credit card – $150 for the kids means $579 for the GFM van. Crap, I wanted it to be more. But I do need to be responsible, right?
It’s good to note that I am very, very scared. This is unlike me, but I guess that’s the point. It’s like God. So while writing this we already gave away the money. It’s done. Now we sit and wait.
God, we’re doing it. I confess it is not necessarily with a joyful heart, but one of duty and possibly even daring. I’m looking forward to telling this story in a month. How many miracles of provision are going to occur? History tells me at least some. How big will they be? What forms will they come in? History also tells me that they tend to be different each time. Will we have a 2nd car by the end of the month? Will we care about that any longer? Will GFM have a van?
Your turn now God.
August 26, 2012 (later that day)
I should actually write this down to keep myself accountable. I have a bad habit of regularly checking our online donations to see what has come in. I am committing to not logging in starting Sept 1 and just letting whatever is going to happen, to happen. Ditto to stock accounts. Must, stop, finding security in not God.
(Part 2 coming tomorrow!)