Saturday, February 17, 2007

Can I testify? God can outgive anyone!

I am not black nor do I play one on Sunday, but I'm just gonna testify to God's goodness anyway!

When I first became a Christian at 17, I was initially hesitant to give money because I thought all preachers were closet thieves. However, through life and experience I found out that wasn't true. Sometime in university I became a regular giver to both church and missionaries. I never really felt that I was giving that much or that I was sacrificing. It was just beer/pizza money that was going to a good cause.

Mrs. Expat Teacher and I have always been givers to God's kingdom. I inherited her giving commitments and she inherited mine. We've always given and not thought much about it. In fact, we are cheerful givers and try to give our missionaries and church a yearly cost of living increase.

Maybe I don't remember the 'tough' times, but it never seemed that Mrs. Expat Teacher and I ever had tough time because of giving more than 10% of our income to God's kingdom. In fact, when we were in the UK and earning in pounds, but giving in an ever-deflating dollar, it was easy. We gave everyone a raise!

Upon return to the US, we decided (not without much discussion and prayer) that we wouldn't cut back on our giving, even though Mrs. Expat Teacher didn't have a job and we were no longer earning in pounds.

September '06 to January '07, we were a little strapped, but money rolled in from various one-off sources so that we never defaulted on the folks that we support. I say that with some pride. Not that we are good, but that God is good. He never let us down.

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Mark challenged the church to meet the annual budget forecasts. Mrs. Expat Teacher and I decided to stop freeloading off the church and start giving. This flew in the face of common sense since Mrs. Expat Teacher wasn't earning a regular income and we were trying to build a little nest egg.

Yet, we wrote a check and committed to doing it for another 11 months. 13 of the next 14 days, Mrs. Expat Teacher had work, and good paying work at that, with no end in sight. $100/month seems like we under gave God.

The boiler (for heating and hot water) in our flat in London went out last week. It is amazingly old - hasn't been made in 11 years. The expected cost to replace it is £2500. We don't necessarily have that much money. Not to worry. God's provision has arrived. Mrs. Expat Teacher was due a tax refund from Her Majesty, but we'd largely forgotten about it. She applied for it 5+ months ago. Today's post brought the good news. Her Majesty's refund has arrived. We can replace our boiler now. Our tenants will be happy to know that.

One of our church's core values is that 'You cannot out give God'. We can't. Go ahead and try. I dare you. You won't regret it.