As I mentioned last week, stewardship doesn’t begin with giving, it begins with the heart. When we have our hearts aligned correctly before our Creator, everything else seems to fall into place. And it is not a matter of checking off a box and giving stuff away, but rather giving out of correct alignment with God.
As I think over the past few years in my life, I ponder God’s extravagant provision for us. I think about all the times that I have worried about money, or wondered where the next paycheck would come from, and how God provided in radically and ridiculously extravagant ways.
When Grant and I graduated from seminary in 2014 with loads of student loans, an immediate wedding, and four months of unemployment before our first contract began, we had no idea how we were going to make ends meet. But we continually prayed and asked God to show us the way He had for us to go. We honestly didn’t know how we would pay rent, let alone food that summer, and God provided. A surprise scholarship came through at graduation, to pay within a few dollars the exact amount we still needed for rent. The landlords allowed us to plant a garden and eat produce from that for the summer.
Again, when we were in between jobs after our first-year contract was up, the extravagance of God’s provision was overwhelming. We had been offered other positions, prior to St. Paul’s Leaskdale, and turned them down after prayerfully considering what God’s plan was for our lives. But we had to give an answer before we had anything in place at SPL. It was a crazy time where trusting in God has never been so real for us.
But we knew that we had to live prayerfully and dependently on God, waiting for His timing and His movement, despite seemingly dire circumstances. Family members allowed us to stay with them for this couple of month period, and also to store our furniture, and boxes. We had furniture and belongings stored in four different locations across Southern Ontario. It really made us think hard about what we needed and what we could give away!
But when the time came, God’s perfect provision fell into place beautifully, and the little extra dependence on God did not hurt either of us. We got back on our feet after a few months with relatively little issue. But what got me through this whole time is that our God is an extravagant God, one who lavishes His love on us. I’m not talking materially, but much more holistically than that. God lavishes His extravagant provisions on us.
Because we live in the first world, we often get caught up in the many things we don’t possess, instead of living gratefully toward God for the many things He has provided. A complaining spirit stands in stark opposition to a spirit of thankfulness for the many blessings we have. I think we also get confused about what is a necessity and what is a desire.
We rent a small townhouse in a nice neighbourhood, consistently have food on the table, heating in the winter, and even air conditioning in the summer. We do not have nice cars (in fact, currently, mine is not able to leave the driveway), and we do not have cable or satellite, and I do not buy expensive purses or glamorous jewelry. And most of our furniture was either given to us or from Ikea—some of it was given to us and from Ikea. We live relatively simply, but we have so much more than we could possibly ever need! Not to say that my attitude always reflects this notion…sometimes I get caught up in stuff as much as the next person.
But when we align our lives before our Creator first, all of this seems to fall into place as well.
* If you follow the blog, there will be adult posts every Tuesday, and kid’s posts every Wednesday for the next five weeks. Later this week, you will also be able to download the entire adult or kid’s booklet on the resource page!
Activity: Take a hike! Though not all weeks will have physical exercise, this is an excellent thing to do on your own or with the whole family. As you hike through a natural space, notice all of the blessings and consider what being a good steward entails. If you are hiking with someone, discuss what stewardship has to do with being outside in nature.