Giving From Deficiency
Like many, I am notorious for driving on fumes.
I have owned most of my cars for a number of years and I learn very quickly how many miles I actually have when the gas light comes on. I may drive on fumes, but my confidence in those fumes is different than a full tank of gas. And my state of mind depends on the location of the next gas station.
When I am driving around town, and I know the location of every gas station and it is probably built into my schedule to stop – I am confidently running around town.
However, on the interstate in an unfamiliar location or in traffic that looks to be idle for an undetermined amount of time – my confidence begins to waivers.
This morning I read Priscilla Shirer’s devotional challenging us to give in areas we are deficient in life. As I journaled, I was shocked to see questions instead of agreement. I was raised in the church – giving is engrained in me. I won’t claim to be excellent – but even giving in hardship is familiar. I even remember the parable about the woman who gave the last of her belongings being a charge to my giving at times.
So why is my response to question in an area so familiar? (Not challenging the accuracy – but rather the possibility.)
For all intents and purposes, pause here and think about where you are giving, or being asked to give. Not just in money. Many of us are asked to give of non-monetary things.
Time. Attention. Affection. Energy. Forgiveness. Love. Help. Belongings.
We can be asked to give anything.
Now ask yourself, what am I being asked to give that I do not feel I have enough to give?
Two entirely different responses, right?
Giving from plenty carries a similar confidence of driving on a full tank. But when asked to give what you feel you have little to none of – we are far more likely to tote the weight of uncertainty that is similar to driving on fumes.
So – here is the question I journaled:
How do you drive with purpose (intention) when running on fumes? How can I take my focus off the “empty tank?” How - without worry or fear? Without a natural concern for self-preservation?
In praying through these questions, God’s word, which always roots me in confident faith reminded me of 3 truths:
1. God’s provision for my obedience.
God equips those He calls and God’s purpose prevails.
We are asked to give. And at times we are asked to give what we do not necessarily see in plenty. But God - seeing past, present, and future - knows what He asks of us is possible (. Not just possible – purposed. He knows what we need. When we need it. And rewards a willing and faith-filled heart.
Driving with purpose is to focus on destination. Knowing you will have all you need to arrive.
Giving in this manner is reliant on my trust. Trust that God will equip me. Trust that He will replenish me. Trust that if He calls me to give, His purpose will prevail. I do not need to focus on the empty tank. If He asks me to give my time or money – He knows where that time or money is coming from. I may not see the tank as full – just as the disciples failed to when they saw the boy’s lunch of 2 loaves of bread and five fish. But God does.
God sees plenty where we see deficiency. (Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthians 9:8)
2. God is not depending on what I have.
God’s purpose is not hung up on what we bring to the table.
Moses didn’t have eloquent speech.
David did not have size and status.
And whatever we feel deficient in today, God is not at loss for either.
Sara Wallace, in Created to Care, made these two points: I am limited, God is not. He holds all the cards all the time.
Driving with purpose is to rely on the car to get you there.
Giving in this manner is reliant on my faith. Faith which gives me confidence, knowing every weakness my fear is throwing at me is not a hindrance or surprise to God. In fact, it is an area His glory will be more evident. If you have ever given from deficiency out of conviction, you have seen God show up. And that fear that is causing you to doubt – remember - fear is never honest. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Matthew 6:33)
3. God is looking for faithful obedience.
God desires ears to hear and hearts that do.
God knows every question, challenge, obstacle, and excuse I can come up with. The reason for every question, challenge, obstacle, and excuse is typically self-preservation at it’s core (at least for me, if I am honest). When I catch glimpse of this – I often shake my head in shame and wonder why? As if I can blindly care and protect myself better than He who knows every day and moment ahead of me.
Driving with purpose is to be focused more on the objective than myself.
Giving in this manner requires humility. Humility to leave my preservation to the one who can care for me better than I can care for myself. I don’t want to be the backseat driver when I’ve given God the reigns as my Lord. He is simply desiring my faith and my obedience. Obedience that at times supersedes my understanding and comfort. But obedience that is possible when God's request is more important than that understanding or comfort. (James 1:22, Luke 11:28, 1 Chronicles 29:14)
Don’t you love questions that result a need for more faith?
Isn’t it humbling to see areas you still fall short of that faith?
But God doesn’t just ask us to give to others…He also asks us to give to Him. He asks for our faith, trust and humility. And where God asks us to give, He will give back – “a good measure – pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) I can give in faithful obedience, because even when my faith, trust or humility looks deficient, God know it is present and available through HIM.