In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
// 2 Corinthians 8:2
Have you ever been in the midst of something and thought, why God? Why is this happening? I remember Georgie and I stepping out when we first got married to buy some property. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, and being unfairly ripped off by a real estate agent, we found ourselves while the first year of marriage in the ‘midst’ of a real financial mess.
One of the biggest areas that God shifted and developed in our lives was the area of generosity. The big question for us was, do we keep giving and trying to be generous when we were going through this trial? Worldly wisdom will say, saveevery penny you have and put it towards the debt. That can be great advice but it doesn’t necessarily teach you anything about God’s Kingdom or character. Taking this route really just shows us that our hope is in our earthly home or getting out of debt, so we can feel comfortable again. I’m in no way endorsing debt or being unwise in our giving, but I am suggesting that difficult times could be a chance to look at finance in a totally new light.
We prayed about it, and decided to continue giving to church our tithes as well as to the building fund. It really hurt to do this because every penny seemed so valuable. But what the Lord taught us in this time, was that He wanted to adjust our idea of money, and pull down wrong thinking about it. He was using this trial to dismantle our paradigm of finance, wealth, and comfort, exchanging it for a Kingdom paradigm whereby we saw everything as belonging to Him. Money was always meant to be a tool to build God’s Kingdom, not a god to replace our need for the true God.
Giving in tough times for me personally, has changed the way I look at money. I don’t think I would handle money the same way today if I didn’t go through that trial. The fact is, Kingdom generosity will never make sense to the world because without Jesus as your Lord, money is usually the idol that tries to parade as god.
Praise God, we got out of debt and we did it while learning to put God first and building His Church. We learnt that everything belongs to God, and when He is the center of our finances, it doesn’t mean everything is always perfect, but it does mean He is always our joy. If you find yourself in the ‘midst’ of a severe trial, let the Lord be your joy, not your bank account; let your lack of wealth in the world turn into abundance of joy in God, and out of this overflow, continue to give and honor God. Giving in this way reveals very clearly to the rich of this world where true joy comes from. May we be known as a truly generous people.
// Josh Kelsey