An Avenue of Opportunity

This summer marks our 12th year of raising support. In other words, we raise all the money that funds our ministry, our income, our health benefits, our social security taxes; i.e. everything. I was casually chatting with a friend over lunch yesterday (casually because we were sitting on damp beach blankets while our kids picnicked in swimsuits in the backyard) about how God has changed my view of this task of support-raising over the years.
When we began fresh out of college, the idea of support-raising seemed daunting, but faith-stretching. And I worried what people would think of us. Would they think we are beggars?

We focused on "God, will you meet our needs?"
"Yes, I will; in my time," answered the Almighty.

He slowly led us to compassionate individuals, many of whom we had never met, and we had the privilege of experiencing His provision through the compassion of His people.

The abundance of His provision has ebbed and flowed over the years--needs always met, joyous surprises found, time on our knees, times of sacrifice.

And along the journey of "Will He meet our needs?" we found ourselves on the journey of "What a privileged opportunity!"

We have opportunities to develop deep caring relationships with people--reciprocal relationships where we lift each other up in prayer, and enjoy conversations of friendship. {In fact, the friend with whom I was sitting on the beach blanket, I first met on a support-raising appointment.} But we have an even greater privilege of inviting others to join in the work of God's Kingdom. "And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

When we ask someone to financially give to our ministry, we are giving them the opportunity to SEND the Good News! What a dual privilege! And God blesses this effort--reciprocally!

12 years into this journey, I can wholeheartedly say the words of the apostle Paul when he speaks about giving, "I don't say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. (Phil. 4:17)."  As I chatted with my friend about a group of people whose first inclination was to dismiss our invitation of giving, I said, "I want to talk to them again, not because we need the money, but for THEM. I want THEM to have another chance to participate. I want this for them because I know how much it benefited my and Karl's hearts when we started giving." My friend agreed and understood as she and her husband have experienced the same thing.

2 verses later, Paul writes, "And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus."

I heard the song, "My Own Little World" on the radio, and it reminded me of that convo on beach blankets. When we offer someone the opportunity to give, we offer an avenue for them to increase their "population" as referenced in this song. Surely, we are not the only avenue available, but I'm so thankful that this "daunting task" has morphed into a privileged blessing!

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