“Isn’t your love bucket just overflowing?”
When I told Kirsten about my dinner appointment last night, she responded with that question. And my answer was YES! I was meeting with a couple to tell them about my ministry and invite them to partner with me. I went over at 6:30pm and didn’t leave until 9:15pm.
Stephen and Christine are young married professionals. Their house is also home to three dogs, one fat cat, and a Southern mom. They were gracious, asked questions and decided to join my support team. And while financial support was the point of the meeting, the most encouraging thing was spending the time with them. We hit it off, laughed a lot, took turns at teasing each other and talked about philosophy. I feel like I gained more than ministry partners, I gained friends.
And how incredible is that? I didn’t expect to make friends in this process. At times, it is really hard to be raising support; to day-after-day ask people for money, to be rejected, to hear “no”. At times, I have wondered why I didn’t choose a job with an automatic paycheck… any other job would do. Why couldn’t I have picked a profession for which I simply had to show up on Monday at 8:00? At times, I have felt resentful that I have to raise my own support. I’ve whined and complained and pushed out my lower lip and wrinkled my nose.
There are a million and one reasons why raising support this way is good for growth, good preparation for ministry, precedented in Scriptures and good for teaching me to trust in God. But apart from all those, what a blessing it can be too! I would never have met Christine and Stephen if I didn’t have to raise my own support. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn about sacrifice from people who give beyond what they are able.
I love to know people. I love to be friends. Simple, I know. But how good is God that He provides more than our needs? That He literally overflows our lives with good things? This is crazy. It is too much. It’s lavish. It’s so extravagant, it’s almost unseemly.
Which brings me to the next thing. I think that Christianity does not make sense. The Word of God does not make sense. True disciples of Jesus do not make sense. Think about it: God. You can’t understand how powerful is His Power. He created the world. There was nothing. He spoke. There was everything. This same God accomplished the redemption of the world and all mankind by dying. This is foolishness. Paul thought so too: “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
I kept searching for some key to make this work. For the mental trick that would make weakness strong. But I don’t think it exists. I think that dying is actually death and weakness is actually weak. But in the greatest non-sequitur of history, God somehow makes life out of death and strength out of weakness. It’s not a mental trick, it’s His power. Which is actually pretty consistent with the whole making-everything-from-nothing creative act.
“…so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
So we have faith in God’s power, which we don’t understand. And we believe with our hearts: “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness”. What a relief! And it’s not accidental that we believe with our hearts, God did it on purpose: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
This all meant a lot to me, especially in light of the intellectual struggle, even crisis, I went through the past two years. It may not have made sense, but this Press isn’t public yet, so that’s okay. Note to anyone who might read this in the future: If it seems wrong or absurd, disregard it. But to me, this was the sweet message from Abba.