Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweeter than candy part 2

I love folks like George Mueller and Lillian Trasher who made their requests before God Himself and waited upon Him to move in people's hearts, rather than asking other people directly.

And I hear Alida in her comment to my last post...I'm not in any way condoning or wanting to encourage people taking advantage of the generosity of others while they sit on their own wealth, but I also want to come along side those who are wanting to do what they can to help the fatherless, knowing that together we can make a difference in the lives of these children for the glory of God as they become members of Christian households.

In the Bible, along with Paul being a tent-maker to pay his missionary expenses we also have the widow with only a jar of oil who was instructed by God to ask all her neighbors for empty jars which He then miraculously filled as a means of providing for her and her family...both examples were God-directed.  What I attempt to discern is whether the person presenting the "opportunity" is walking by faith and trusting God to provide as they live out their die-to-self, live for Jesus lives...personally we've walked the "tent maker" road twice relative to adoption and the "empty jars" (by way of very rough analogy) road once and all three adoptions I believe were fully lead by God. And in a great many ways, the "empty jars" road was a sanctifying trek that needed to be walked out by us to open our eyes to a bigger picture. 

Truth be known, we were not in the desperate straights that the widow needing jars was...we still had food to eat and clothes to wear and a house to live in without the threat of any of those things being taken away.  But the reality was she rightly desired to provide for her family and didn't have the means...she needed to fully rely upon the LORD and the generosity of neighbors to be able to accomplish it as she walked by faith and obedience to all the Lord commanded her.  One thing was plain: she was not sitting on a pile of wealth and her neighbors knew it.  Both Paul and the widow were doing all they could in obedience and faith...THAT should be our heart, for the glory of God.  We shouldn't be like the kid in school that has a group project that is happy to let every body else carry the load while he coasts into a good grade...THAT is not glorifying to our Father.

In Jeremiah 5, we are told of the impending judgment of God against His people and one of the few specific sins listed has to do with not caring for the seems like this is a "God's people" thing throughout the Scripture, not simply individuals that decide to grow their families in this way.  It's about compassion and displaying God's love to those who need it.  There are people who can support, love and train up more children and have the heart to do so.  I do not think they lack integrity by offering to do what they can do and asking others to do what they can.  I think they rightly understand that we are part of a body that is to work together for the glory of God.  Now is it glorifying to mooch? No.  Is it glorifying to beg? No. But it is glorifying to say "Here I am, all I have is yours, and I'll follow You anywhere, even if it means walking down the humbling road of asking people to come alongside me in this good work trusting that You have the whole thing orchestrated in every detail."

God is benevolent; a cheerful Giver.  He asks us to be like Him.  Will we be taken advantage of sometimes?  Probably.  On judgment day, whose problem is that going to be (the one who in good faith sought to honor God by giving cheerfully or or the one who took advantage)?  On the flip side, if we link arms and resources with others who are serving God in truth, we get the incredible joy of being parts of each others story and how can it not bring a smile to God's face to see His children loving others together?


  1. I hear what you're saying but I can also understand the tension. If we were trying to raise funds for adoption and were actively fund raising (as opposed to cheerfully receiving gifts as people were led to give) I would probably feel a lot more concern about where my personal finances were going. For example, getting to go to Oaks Park last week. Some of my kids got in free, some didn't. If I were fundraising for an adoption would I feel guilty about spending our personal money for rides at an amusement park? If I had run into somebody I knew had sacrificially given at my own request would I feel akward about having spent money on something that clearly was not a life necessity, though a blessing to my kids? I think I would not feel right about it. But then are you to forgo all luxeries? And where do you draw that line?

    But if people gave because they thought of it then I would just assume they wanted to partake in the joy of the adoption and to feel personally involved, etc and I wouldn't feel as awkward about it.

    Also, I think some of the creative fundraising things families are doing (like t-shirts and the like) are really cool. In that case if I bought a t-shirt for say, $20, I would realize the family was making a profit, but then again any place I buy a t-shirt is making a profit, so in that case I wouldn't think about it as being a charity sort of thing as much.

    I'm not saying I would judge anyone for doing the facebook fundraisers and that sort of thing, but if I were the one getting ready for adoption I can see why that wouldn't be my own first choice for raising funds.

  2. Kerri, tension is a good word...I appreciate your contribution to the discussion and I know personally the truth of the tension you talk about. It would be interesting to know if in the empty jars story if it was really much of a sacrifice to give an empty jar. Maybe it was, I don't know. I'm for giving sacrificially, but I wonder if a good deal of the giving that goes on in America is all that sacrificial... we're friends so you know we live in a relatively small house, home-school, live on a single income, live within our income, etc, but truly we don't find it overwhelming or sacrificial to give $10 most of the time if we want to give it. I think some of the facebook-a-thons are like that: "If you have an extra 5 or 10, would you like to make good use of it to help a kid?" sort of thing. The burden and tension of how to live out the necessity versus luxuries in that case is on the ones doing the asking and they will give an account to God for how they've handled all that. It is indeed a tension. I know sacrificial giving on our end tends to be done towards those we know and love personally...and I pray along with those folks for wisdom and grace in their spending. Having been there/done that, I sympathize with the tension. You mentioned going to the amusement park (it was fun to see you there, btw!)...that is such a good example of how we need to be careful not to judge others too because just because we know they went and did something that seems extravagant does not mean they are spending extravagantly (it could be a gift from someone, a prize, a library reading program prize like our amusement park experience was, or a host of other options). If we know their general character is one that seeks to please the Lord, I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt and rejoice that they too got to do something fun. Thanks again for your insights.

  3. Oh Connie...thank you so much. I loved what you wrote. Love learning how to "do it better" for my Lord. I want so much to sit over a hot cup of coffee or tea with you and talk face to face one day. I love our moms here who are adopting and those whom I have met on "FB". I'm sorry for the struggles so many have to face as they adopt, and yet not sorry as the struggles are for their transformation and God's glory. Much wisdom will surely be gained as well.

    Stay the course ladies. Perhaps people might be upset by what you do, or don't do....but remember God is pleased whose confidence is in him.

  4. Great post Connie.

    I'm going to comment on Kerri's thing. I think each family has to personally decide what they will do for their adoption. For me I've always chosen something to "give up" - its my thing - its something the Lord always calls me to but I don't "advertise it" per say. With Silas I gave up Starbucks. That was huge for me. I was going almost daily. When I looked at our finances for how we could cut back Starbucks glared at me. It the thing I did with my then youngest child, it was our time. It was TOUGH to give it up. But the Lord used that and to this day I don't go to Starbucks but once a week if that. During that time precious friends watched me, asking about the lack of Starbucks....people would buy me gift cards to bless me and it was such a precious gesture. This time it is something else and its random and totally what the Lord asked me to do and I'm thrilled to do it.

    Your comment on Oaks Park hit me - we have Busch Gardens passes - we bought them when we first moved here. I have wondered what people think - we bought them before we were adopting and they are good for two years. Should we just not go? No! That's crazy. We find creative ways to save money and we don't go totally crazy depriving our existing kids of everything fun. We do pack lunches and water when we go to Busch but they still have a blast!

    I do think there is a fine line in all of this and I'm so grateful for the dialogue about it all.