This October will make 13 years since I surrendered my life to full time ministry for Jesus. I preached my first sermon 12 years ago. I have been involved in full time vocational ministry for almost five years now. I grew up in a family of strong faith. I should be a person of strong faith.
I must confess that hasn’t always been the case. Though I have preached numerous sermons and lessons on ‘Faith in God’ and ‘Trust in the Savior’. I have had many doubts, questions and lapses of faith recently. I can still play the game and talk the ‘preacher’ talk, but I haven’t been as strong in faith as I should be. The summer proved to be a time of testing for me. My wife and I lost our first child in a miscarriage, and then I lost a job that I loved 4 weeks later.
For those in a secular position and unfamiliar with vocational ministry, there are significant differences in finding a new ministry job. First, you can’t just shoot a resume to all the places that do the same ‘kind’ of work. The philosophical and theological filter of who I am narrows down the potential field of possible employers. It takes lots of time for the process to move in hiring. Then, to make a long story short you have to convince anywhere from 6 to 600 people you are good enough for the job.
Not trying to throw a pity party, but just represent the situation.
Long story short I had a conversation with myself about 10 days ago. With no job, no income, would it be OK to pocket the tithe from my final paycheck? After all…
- I really needed the money to support my family!
- I felt I kind of deserved it for various reasons that need not be blogged.
- I was feeling bad for myself.
Thankfully, I didn’t win the debate. My conscious and the Spirit said, “You need to give it to the LORD. He can do more with it than you can…remember those sermons you preached! Were those just for your congregation, or you?”
So, Julie and I decided to tithe to a missionary friend and his ministry while we were in between churches.
I had no expectations for anything in return. I didn’t expect God to do anything for me. Yet, despite my weakness and inept faith, God multiplied back to me what I gave away by 5 times within 10 days.
I must confess – I was weak, but I must also confess – My God was strong, mighty and gracious. He has answered numerous prayers in the last week. Hope is here.