Wow. Don’t you hate it when something you preach on preaches right back at you?! That happened this weekend. Wanna hear about it? I’ll tell ya anyway…
By November of 2013, our offerings were running behind budget by a fair amount. What do you do as a pastor? Worry? Fret? Fear? Question? Brood? Second guess? Scheme? Yes! I do all of the above. If you’re like me, you could pick out a couple on this list to join me in. I think that you’re like me.
In December of last year (seven weeks ago), our congregation took a special offering and brought us clear back into the black, and into a better position than we were a year ago. I felt as though I had lived through a near-death experience.
So starting 2014, I unconsciously assumed a posture of fear and dread. Will this happen all over again? Will our offerings support our budget? Will I be able to pay staff all year? What if? What then? Oh dear… Yeah, full of faith, aren’t I?!
Here’s where the AHA! moment comes in. We are preaching in Hosea. Yes, Hosea, and it actually challenged me directly. We defined four areas of sin that Hosea said the Israelites were guilty of, and one of those areas was this:
Pursued foreign gods/powers for protection and provision.
Israel forgot that it was God who gave them what they needed. They called out to their lovers, went to the great king, called to Egypt and turned to Assyria. They did not trust in the LORD their God to take care of them, or to provide for their needs! Instead, they adulterated after other gods.
When I saw this fact about the Israelites, I realized I was being just like them. Who or what was I looking to as the source of what we need? Who or what was going to source us? From what source would our provision come? The answer is God, and I needed to both realize it, and affirm it in my heart.
“This is your church God, and I trust you to supply what we need here for this budget year. I will not go after “other lovers” or trust in man – my hope is in you!”
Are you experiencing budget troubles in your church? Do you trust yourself to scheme and dream, robbing Peter to pay Paul? If your hope is in anyone or anything but God and God alone, you may be guilty of the Israelites’ sins in Hosea’s day. Turn to God in full trust, confidence, and dependence! He can be trusted.
Don’t miss what God wants to show you, that he loves you and will provide in his way and timing. Don’t turn to foreign gods or powers; turn to Jesus, he is your source. Trust God for what your church needs, he can be trusted!
p.s. This Wednesday we are joined by Dan Reiland, The Pastor's Coach on the 200churches Podcast!
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