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Embracing the Journey of Faith and Finances

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Without knowing all the ins and outs, I like that Bill Gates is using his finance and energy to eradicate Polio as well as many other diseases such as HIV and malaria. He uses finances as a tool, not something that he has to accumulate.

If I am being very honest, I used to see finances as a necessary evil. An unholy task that I need to deal with it to do holy work such as missions and discipleship, the work that I am called to.

In a very weird way, I was afraid of money at the same time. I was afraid to not have enough, to lose it, to be controlled by it. Because I was afraid of it, I sometimes put my head in the sand and didn't do anything about it. I just pushed it aside so God can deal with it. God, in His grace let me get by every month and every year.

At the beginning of every year, Elli and I make a budget and organise it by our obligations, needs and wants. Throughout the year we would pray periodically, and intensely when we really needed some larger amount of finances. We got just what we needed to get by. However, at the end of every year, we looked at what God had provided in His grace to us. We thanked God. And we thought that's just how it is.

However, Elli started asking this question of why our generous God does not provide the full amount of our budget. We looked at the expenses of the year before, we were not wasteful. We had prayed over the budget and felt that it was right. Why were we then always behind, last minute, or even short with our finances? We were exhausted. As Elli was going through these questions, she found two books and lots of resources. She suggested for me to read them as well and have a look. It was different. It was uncomfortable. Now looking back, it brought up all the fear of judgement, failure, being controlled and fear of facing our mistakes. At the same time, I continued to see fellow staff and other missionaries struggle with their finances, just like we were.

The following year, at the beginning of 2022 when we were praying over that year's budget, God ever so gentle told me "You are not fully funded because you do not have faith for me to provide fully". You need to understand. Working in full-time ministry, provided for through the support of family and friends, is often referred to as "living by faith", because I am not getting paid by my workplace but trust God to provide what I need. So, the fact that God is saying that I do not have faith is just outright wrong! How rude.

But this word finally woke me up. I was childish not childlike. I was just willfully blinded, not having faith in God. It was and is painful to realise and admit it. However, I do not want to stay a grown-up infant in this area. I started adapting some principles from that book. I started contacting people, setting up meetings. I made presentations. I started inviting people to become Ministry Partners with us through their financial giving.

Mid 2023, as I am writing this blog, we are not fully funded yet, but we are almost there. It has been a journey. I am still making a lot of mistakes. I know I am not doing it perfectly, but I am doing it. It still feels like I am just past infancy, but I will not stop growing.

After reading this, if you want to pray for me, please pray for a clear head and ongoing discipline.

I need a clear head because sometimes my struggle is the regret regretting of wasting the past years and my youth in this area. I would rather have figured this out by the age of 40 but I am not. Battling with shame and self-pity is real sometimes, but the truth is that we serve a gracious God, who works with us in our weaknesses and who uses our mistakes. Please pray for me that I would keep growing in greater self-discipline and humility.

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