The Basics of Living By Faith {part 1 of 2}

ftur-1No, you are not seeing double. I originally published this as a much longer post called mastering the art of budgeting backwards. It was just too long for one post.  For those of you who bravely read through it all.  You are the stouthearted.  For those of you who said, wow I just don’t have time for all this info, I’ll read it later.  Here is a much bite-sized serving.

Basing in the USA, my focus is increasingly on mentoring and equipping emerging leaders and entrepreneurs, especially those involved in vocational missions and ministry.  {As in those who get a paycheck or raise support to serve part or full time in some ministry-related capacity.} And if you’d like to help me do more equipping for more emerging leaders in ministry, here comes my absolutely shameless invitation… I’d really, really love to have you partner with me.

I offer many of my consulting services for free or at hugely discounted rates to ministry clients I serve.  A girl still has to eat and pay rent.  So if you’d like to partner with me in equipping and mentoring the next generation, as well helping me continue to write, speak and advocate for nation-changing initiatives: I’d sure love to have you join in.  More info on the many ways you can do just that coming in tomorrow’s post.  {Or you can jump right on over to find out more info on the most direct way to support me through tax-deductible donations here.  I am still a missionary through-and-through.}

One of the biggest questions I get asked is, “How do I trust God for finances?”

Bottom lines are just so black and white.  Pesky, brash things…  No pretty colors to shade the numerical facts. My accounting professor was not impressed when I told him I was better at coloring the books than balancing them.  I learned quickly in his class “written in red” was not something to be aspired to.

Numbers are pretty much my nemesis and an accounting aficionado, I am not.  But I have learned a few things pioneering and running an international ministry for 7 years.  And incredibly every single one of them applies now to my personal journey too.  Perhaps one or two might be helpful to you as well.

When someone asks me, “How do I trust God for finances?,” the bigger question is usually one of His provision.  It is easy to equate provision to our bank balance. But from years of seeing food multiply supernaturally, God often reminds me: finances are just one type of His provision.  That being said, money is a very primary way He provides and it is one of the most practical ways our faith is stretched and grown.  He or she who is faithful in a little thing will also be faithful in larger things. {Luke 16:10}

Provision is rarely about money.  It is almost always about vision.  Vision is 2/3rds of provision.  Count the letters.  PRO VISION. When God is for the vision, the resources will always come.  But when our vision gets fixated on or limited by our resources, we step out of the realm of faith and into fear.  Fear that is like crimping a water hose. The water is there, but the channel is knotted up.

I am not saying we go barreling ahead blissfully unaware of the bank balance or the bottom line.  Oh no no no.  Rather when the bottom line becomes our horizon line our channel is well on its way to being tied up in knots.

Faith is not ignorance and in financial matters, ignorance is certainly NOT bliss. It is pending disaster.

Faith does not equal reckless spending either, trusting God will somehow cover it later.  Faith can LOOK reckless but it isn’t.  Faith is abandoned, not reckless.  Two totally different things.

Faith is intentional trust producing the fruit of obedience that is willing to risk because it depends on God’s faithfulness to His promise, not our ability to perform.  His will, His bill.  But way too often we send heaven an invoice for projects and expenses He never ordered.  His will, His bill.  In. That. Order.

Living by faith is not synonymous with I-don’t-want-to-get-a-real-job, or at least it shouldn’t be. Sadly sometimes faith-based ministries get wrongly judged on that note and even more sadly, sometimes that perception can have a basis at least partly in reality.   We ALL live by faith in Jesus, especially in today’s economy, regular monthly paycheck or not.

So that’s some of my big-picture provision foundational-premise talk.  The next post is all the practical, how do I actually walk this stuff out. Keep on reading here for part two.