Leadership and Finances

The transition from life as a pastor in a well resourced church to life in the ministry of Equipping the Next Generation, without formal means of financial support, required Sue and me to take a significant faith step. Now, 18 months later, I feel it is timely to write this article to report on how this faith adventure has been unfolding.

Could God really meet all our needs as he had promised? Would I need to develop the various financial strategies that many well meaning people had encouraged me to pursue? Is this the best time to step out in faith and get rid of all the props that we had come to depend upon, particularly while our two daughters were still completing their university degrees. Should we try and extend Sue’s working hours as a Dental Hygienist beyond the 1 ½ days we had felt was appropriate for her? What about the many expenses involved in setting up a new ministry and registering a business?

Fortunately I had spent some time studying Loren Cunningham’s book, Daring to Live on the Edge. Loren, the founder of Youth With a Mission provides in one chapter a checklist of questions to process, to ensure that God’s promises to provide our financial needs will be fulfilled.

The following is a review of this chapter with a list of 15 questions to answer. God’s promises to provide our needs are usually based on our fulfilling, individually or corporately, certain conditions:

1. Am I in the will of God?

It has been said that God’s will done in God’s way will never lack God’s provision.

2. Am I obeying God in every area of my life?

The Israelites could not enter into God’s provision of the promised land because of their disobedience. Hebrews 3:19. Sin can block our prayers for God’s provision Psalm 66:18

3. Have I made an idol out of money and things?

Does my lifestyle and spending habits result in money being withheld from the things of God? Matthew 6:24,33

4. Am I in debt?

Romans 13:8 Have I borrowed beyond my ability to pay back? Am I using debt to live beyond my means? God has promised to provide our needs, not or wants.

5. Am I reaping a harvest from past sins or wrong choices ?

Galatians 6:7
Do I need to make restitution to someone for a wrong I have committed in the past? In 54 verses of Deutoronomy28, curses are listed, some financial, that relate to reaping a harvest from past sins. 6. Have I been tithing into God’s storehouse? Malachi 3:8-12 God tells us to bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in our houses. Here is a promise where He even invites us to test Him.

7. Have I been generous?

2 Corinthians 9:6, Luke6:38 Give and it will be given to you. I have made it a policy that I will try and add value to every person I meet. A serious lack of finances could mean we are receiving in the same manner that we are giving.

8. Have I been grateful for God’s provision?

Colossians 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Am I grateful for all that God has already given me? Am I overflowing with thankfulness and am I thankful in all circumstances? Do I include a segment on thanksgiving in my daily devotions.

9. Have I been faithful with the small things?

Luke 16:10, Matthew 25:23
When we are faithful with the small things, then it is that God can entrust us with more. God cannot entrust us with greater provisions of finances until we have been faithful with what we have. How faithful am I right now with the use of my time, my spiritual gifts and my energies as well as my finances?

10. Have I asked God to supply me need?

James 4:2, Luke 11:13 One of God’s conditions to meeting our needs is that we ask Him. Could it be that we have not, because we ask not.

11. Have I been working hard?

Proverbs 28:19 Usually God wont give to us when He has already given us the time and strength to provide for the resources we need.

12. Is God’s glory safe in my hands?

1 Chronicles 29:11-12 Money problems can be a way that the Lord uses to show us that we are taking the glory that belongs to Him in regard to the blessings He has given to us.

13. Am I really looking to God to supply my needs?

Psalm 20:7, Psalm 147:10-11

14. Am I letting fear control me?

2 Timothy 1:7 Fear can stop us from stepping our into God’s call on our lives. It is at times like this that we need to walk by faith through our fears with our trust firmly focused on God. It is often the steps of faith that release the resources of God.

15. Am I generous to those who are poor?

Proverbs 19:7, 21:13 God has promised that when we are kind to the poor, He will reward us for what we have done.

In this latest season of our lives, God has taken Sue and me to a new level of walking by faith. And in the process we have been learning so much about His character and we are learning to trust Him more and more. It has been quite a remarkable journey. Faith come from…
knowing what God wants us to do;  obeying whatever God tells us to do; and trusting God to do what we cannot do, in His way and in His time.

When God calls you to a faith challenge, step out of your comfort zone and keep this checklist handy to ensure that nothing hinders you from experiencing God’s abundant provision for your life.