Friday, April 10, 2015

Windows of Heaven

We are heading into a season of lean finances due to my work situation. I am unable to work as a nurse because of my health. It causes me some anxiety, considering we are already living paycheck to paycheck, like most people. At the same time, I don’t think it was a coincidence that the Lord led me to these particular verses, which both challenged and comforted me. God is not surprised by our situation, and more than that, I know He is well able to supply our need.

As I made a new household budget with our reduced income, we had planned to decrease our offerings to church by a small amount. I’m sure our church budget would survive without it, and it was not an unreasonable budget item to decrease, and then I read this passage.

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse,
that there may be food in my house.
And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts,
if I will not open the windows of heaven for you
and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Malachi 3:10

It was a challenge from God. As if it was ever in doubt that He could provide, or was benevolent and kindly disposed towards His children. I talked to my husband about it and we decided to keep our offerings the same and watch how God provided.

The ironic thing is that for the past few years I’ve been prepping. You know, just in case. I have a full pantry. Well, this is our rainy day. We plan on working through the pantry. But now, with my new chemical and food sensitivities, I can’t eat anything with preservatives in them. So most of my pantry is unusable to me, so we’ll have to donate it instead. I don’t know why I find that kind of amusing. Isn’t it like God to take away all the things we were depending on, even if they are not bad things in themselves? I think it’s just to show Who or what we are really relying on.

Then we talked about wedding vows. You know, “for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” We always joked that we’ve done them all. There were times our marriage has been very good, times when it’s been a struggle, we’ve had times where money was abundant (or at least, we spent as if it was,) and our early years of barely covering our costs. My husband had cancer 16 years ago, and I’m ill now, but we’ve been in good health otherwise. So, to head into the sickness and poorer stages at once, and again, makes me think there are still some lessons to be learned.

So I hope we learn them. I love this passage in Proverbs.

“Two things I ask of You;
deny them not to me before I die:
Removed far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
or lest III be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.”
Proverbs 30:7-19

This short portion in Luke makes me think that it’s not so much about how much we give, as our attitude about giving. Do we really recognize that everything already belongs to God and we are to be stewards of it, and give back to Him as a sign of our gratitude to Him for all He has done for us? I know we’re not as poor as this widow, but I pray we have a better attitude about giving, and not just look on it as if we are doing God a favour. I’m afraid that may have been my attitude at one point.

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box,
and He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.
And He said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.
For they all contributed out of their abundance,
but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Luke 21:1-4

Finally, I hope that our attitude will be good, ‘even if’ things don’t go wonderfully well.

“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD:
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”
Habakkuk 3:17,18

I’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.

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