Generosity had never been something I ever had to think long about. If there was a need, or a request I was on it - be it compassion ministries (like starving kids in third world countries or women needing medication to prevent HIV turning into AIDS); people going on missions trips; school fundraisers, missionaries or church building funds. I loved to give and it was easy to give as I was earning a good wage as a midwife. However, when I became a missionary and my earning capacity reduced, giving (offerings, not tithing) to everything I wanted to became more difficult. The heart to give hadn't changed, but the bank balances had.
When the miracle offerings would come up I'd always give, not just because I was on staff, but because I was excited to be part of what God was doing for our church. However, it was always a combination of faith and the available balance in my account. I would give generously, but not extravagantly. However, this last offering Pastor Richard challenged us to really pray and seek God to "give until it hurts". In my mind, this was going the extra extra mile. And although I wanted to, there was an element of fear. So I gave as generously as I thought I could, but not until it hurt.
About two weeks ago I was at home after church, and the Holy Spirit nudged me and reminded me of that phrase "give until it hurts". My own finances were very stretched at the time but I was convicted of my lack of faith to believe God to provide for me. He wanted me to walk in faith, not fear. I knew it was about the Miracle Offering. An amount came to mind and I was like "seriously"? That was gonna be more than hurting, that was going to be excruciating. It wasn't the amount, but what the amount represented in that moment. I felt God challenging me to trust in Him and not the things of this world (see Psalm 20:7). So I gave before I could change my mind. I gave til it hurt!
As a Christian, trusting God can be hard, no matter what your occupation title is - be it a millionaire or a missionary. But at the end of the day, Jesus gave His all, so who am I to decide when I'll give my all, and when I'll give because it's convenient? I'm so glad God gave me a second chance to give. The peace of obedience far outweighs any anxiety I have about money!