I’m talking to pastors and church leaders now.
Wouldn’t it be great if the money was there before the need arrived?
Wouldn’t it be great if all we had to do was decide how much of our excess money went to which cause?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people automatically gave a tithe and beyond to the Lord’s work without church leaders having to challenge them? and without us having to show them what a difference their gifts will make.
And yet, there it is in big letters, in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament: The just shall live by faith.
It’s found in the Old Testament prophecy of Habakkuk (chapter 2, verse 4). The New Testament quotes it in Romans 1:17 and Hebrews 10:38.
Clearly, this business of living by faith is not an aberration, but was in the heart of God all along. As difficult as it seems to us, the Father in Heaven has decreed that those who please Him will live by faith. Which is, of course, the message of Hebrews 11:6, Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Here’s a little of what that means to us….
1) The gate will normally be closed until we pull up to it. It will not open in advance. Any local apartment complex will give us this little faith demonstration.
2) The need will arrive before the money is given.
3) The church will routinely have to decide whether to extend itself beyond its resources in order to do God’s will.
4) There will always be the tension between too many needs and too little money. This is for a reason. Many reasons, in fact….
–to drive us to our knees in prayer.
–to cause us to continually refine/purify our direction, our programs, our aims.
–to test our dependence on the Lord and our willingness to wait upon Him.
–to turn our focus off the world’s ways.
–to deepen our love for God and our joy in the Lord.
Therefore, let us…
a) Never expect there to come a time when we will have a surplus of money in the Lord’s work.
b) Never expect an occasion when faith decisions will not have to be made, and for the ones that are made to be easy.
c) always seek to understand that the Lord works “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17).
This means, therefore, that the issues confronting us who follow the Lord Jesus and take seriously His command to spread His gospel will always include the following:
a) Our love for the Lord. If we love Him, we will walk by faith. If we are not willing to live by faith, we deny Him.
b) Our belief that he is leading us and will supply all our need.
c) Our determination to be “obedient in all things.” Paul called that the proof of us in II Corinthians 2:9.
d) Our devotion to doing His work in our world.
e) Our dedication to each other. This is paramount in importance.
It was possible for the Lord to have set up an easier way for His disciples to serve Him in this world. He could have told us to follow our instincts, to do whatever we feel led, to go easy on ourselves. He could have, but He didn’t.
We are to live in obedience to Him, whether we find that easy and simple or difficult and complex.
We are to seek to please Him in all we do. The constant prayer of our lives is to be, “Lord, what will you have me to do?”
Jesus said, “When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) Whatever else that means, it surely raises the question whether anyone will be walking and living, giving and serving, by faith.