God Exists in Community: Our Example on the Support-Raising Journey

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22 (NIV).

 There is a pain in my heart over the friends we have lost while on the support-raising journey. It’s the awkward avoidance of our phone calls or never returned emails because they think we’ll be asking for money. Sadly, most of time we’re contacting our friends just to get together, but they’ve become so fearful that we’re going to put them on the spot that it’s easier to avoid us than to continue the friendship. Although Jason and I have never made high-money demands in conversations and have only let our need be known, we still wish we had a different mindset when we first started fundraising—one that was more concerned about creating an environment of worship than one set on the philosophy of speed. Since we changed our way of thinking, it has made our conversations more glorifying to God, and He has still brought us the money needed to do the ministries He has called us to do—with our relationships intact!

Since we’ve been on this journey for over nineteen years, we have realized that the real focus of raising support isn’t about our needs being met. This statement probably makes you think, “Um, Heather, the whole reason why we raise support is because we need money in order to be used in a particular ministry.” Of course you have monetary needs, and they should be made known and goals worked toward. The error comes when whole philosophies are written with the premise that we build relationships and make high-money demands in order to be fully funded and make it to our ministries as quickly as possible. Therefore, raising support becomes all about us, and as I’ve experienced, this can have a devastating impact on relationships—the opposite of what God intended.

In John 17:22 Jesus declares through His prayer that the reason for being in complete unity with one another is “to let the whole world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Obviously, believers are to unite as one in our spiritual communities and in our church families so that others can see Christ’s love in us; however, there is no asterisk by this verse with a footnote that suggests that the support-raising journey is supposed to be any different. In fact, I find it fascinating that this entire journey is set up as a team effort where we are to work together for the purpose of letting God’s love be known here and around the world. This means that our needs should not be what drive this journey. They are only a secondary purpose that God holds in His hands. A greater purpose is for us to grow as one in order for His glory to be known in the world. We accomplish this by leading people into worship and providing opportunities for them to join God in His work.

God exists in community, and wants that for us as well. He has provided everything we need for this to happen—His glory. Therefore, instead of making our needs the primary focus, let’s not miss the opportunity to let Jesus’ prayer be ours during this time. Let’s be one, a reflection of who God is, in order for others to know the truth of Jesus’ love.

  1. How can using this prayer as your own change the dynamic of your support?
  2. Pray for God to take your focus off yourself during the support-raising journey, and look to Him to accomplish His work through your team.

 

God is Omniscient: As He Takes You on Your Support-Raising Journey

You have searched me, Lord, and you KNOW me. Psalm 139:1

One of the most intimate words in the Bible is the word “know”—God knows me—yet so often I take that for granite. I know a lot of things, or at least I think I do! However, because of my own limited knowledge of the future or of even of everyday things, I unconsciously project that lack of control and fear onto God.

When God asks for our obedience, He rarely gives us the sequential steps until we’ve taken the plunge of trust. It’s obviously not because He doesn’t know what is ahead, but too much knowledge of our future can be a detriment. If I had known we weren’t going to be able to move to Tanzania after our support-raising effort, I would’ve never begun the process in the first place. He holds the steps, shielded in His hands, in order to position us where we need to be, not so that we can take a peek and get what we want or expect. It forces us to trust, so that we can be used by God and have the greatest impact.

The beautiful message of Psalm 139 is that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. However, the support-raising journey has left me, at times, feeling like my life was out of control, like I was abandoned, and even like God really didn’t know what was best for me. Of course none of those things are true, but anxieties arose simply by not trusting God.

God created us with specific talents, passions, and dreams to be used by Him, and often these desires and giftings are what drive our choices. The great thing about God is that He designed it that way, so we can delight in Him all while be used for His glory. However, there are times when we obey, yet it feels as though God missed the mark as we are left floundering in a place that doesn’t seem at all like He knows what is best for us.

What we have to remember is that God doesn’t just know us intimately in the moment. He knows the future us and is continually molding us into the image of Christ. All the circumstances He takes us through fit together like one big dot-to-dot puzzle. Whether we obey or go astray, God is connecting each blip, until we one day stand before Him as His completed masterpiece. This beautiful, eternal picture is how intimately God really does know us. So, let’s look past our circumstances, see ourselves for who we are in Christ, and trust an all-knowing God with each of our steps.

  1. Make a list of your talents, passions and dreams, and praise God for how He created you.
  2. Be willing to sacrifice those talents, passions and dreams for Him, knowing that He knows you so intimately that He is shaping you to be like Him.

God is Our Provider: Our Source of Contentment on the Support-Raising Journey

 

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Contentment is the foundation for understanding the truth that God is our provider. One day I was watching Fixer Upper, and when the show got to the “big reveal”, I actually found myself tearing up—not out of joy, but out of jealousy. We live in a home that’s almost a hundred years old and is in need of some fixing up. I imagined what an additional $50,000 dollars could do—money we don’t have—and the more my mind wandered down that path, the more discontent I became. In that moment I wanted to trade places with that couple and understand what it was like to have all my house dreams fulfilled. Needless to say I have to greatly limit my HGTV consumption in order to combat house envy!

By no means do I think people shouldn’t fix up their houses. That’s between them and God. However, I do know that contentment can be hard on the support-raising journey and our perspective on God’s provision can often become skewed. On the surface this journey seems pretty black and white—when you get money quickly, God provided for your needs. When you don’t get the money, you probably did something wrong; therefore God isn’t going to provide the money until you get it right. Well, maybe people don’t say it quite that bluntly, but when someone works hard and the money still doesn’t come, then you can only imagine how a black-and-white formula can rattle that person’s trust in God as the Provider.

So, how do you stay content on the support-raising journey with the demands of dollar figures and deadlines? During the difficult times my husband and I have had while working hard raising support, God provided in ways we never expected. We just had to look past the traditional thought of how God provides for our needs, which taught us to look past the dollar figures, in order to see what God was really doing in our lives.

As you work hard to meet an overwhelming schedule, take the time to recognize God’s true provision. Maybe it comes in the form of lots of money quickly—I hope so! However, it may come as food and shelter provided by in-laws (that’s what happened to us) or a free car or even a deep conversation from a friend at the exact needed moment. God shows up and takes delight in giving His children gifts. We just have to notice them for what they are. Instead of setting our minds on what we think we need, allow God to provide for our true spiritual needs. You can’t help but to be transformed when you recognize His goodness!

  1. What are some non-traditional ways you’ve seen God provide on your journey? Praise Him for those things.
  2. Pray for contentment no matter what circumstances He is taking you through.