The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“Do not take any gold or silver or copper in your belts for the worker is worth his keep”
Our situation always seems strange to us and is not a principle for all. We trust God for our finances and He provides. What does that mean in practice? It began in extended times of prayer before joining the Navigators. During this time I said to God, "If you want me to leave a well paid job that I enjoy you will have to promise to provide." He did indeed give a promise to provide. On the basis of which I handed in notice with about £30 a month committed support. Our faith was not so great to go without any indication. We sent a letter mentioning the possibility of supporting, though not asking.
The outworking of this is that a number of people send money to us via the Navigator office. We never ask for money, but we have never gone without food and have always had sufficient to pay the bills. It always seems a miracle to us that the need of the time is matched by the generous and sacrificial support of God’s people.
It is worth mentioning that in the time of seeking God before we joined the Navigators, there was a challenging twist. It began with my laying down the gauntlet to God, if you will provide then we will leave work and join the ministry. He did not merely say yes. Rather He upped the stakes. God challenged me to offer him 'my ear to be pierced.' Not literally but symbolically. The real question was, would I be his slave for life and take the family with me. There have been a number of consequences to this. Firstly there is a sense in which there is no way out. There is no let’s try it and see if it works, I can always go back to engineering. When we went on staff we effectively burnt the bridges.
This promise of God has been tested in various ways over the years. Possibly the greatest challenge came when we first moved to Portugal. We had imagined that being the European Union we would have no need for a residents permit. Since Britain had not signed the Schennigen treaty however, we did. We could not get one on the basis of a contract of employment, since we are self employed. We could not get one as missionaries since the Navigators have no official presence in Portugal. We have no family there, the only way was to have a very large sum of money in our bank account. We needed to show the foreigners service a cashier’s cheque for £10,000. Where would that come from? We asked the Navigators if they could give an advance of a few months income, but they were strapped for cash at that point. Time was ticking on, and we knew that the question was going to be presented to us. Come up with the money or leave. A few days before the letter came, we received a letter from my parents, who knew nothing of this. They had been selling off much from their old home. One item was a picture. They had been told it might be worth £300, but in fact they received £40,000! They divided up the sale between their four sons and behold we had exactly what was needed to show the foreigners service!
Following this, in order to help us maintain our position of depending on the Lord, He asked us to give away the majority of this money to others in need at the time! He gives and takes away, yet through this always demonstrates His incredible faithfulness.
FINANCES FOR SERVANTS