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Born at Christmas, made manifest at Jordan’s waters, the life of Jesus shows us what God is like, but also, in many ways, what it means to be human. Many of the things Jesus did, only He could ever do. I don’t think everything Jesus said or did is an example for us.
But His Incarnation into this flesh and blood life does show us an ideal picture of what it means to live as a child of the heavenly Father. And I do think there is a financial component to that example. I always find it fascinating that a country whose people put so much trust in their economic system and their individual material wealth, should imprint the motto, “In God we trust” on their bills and coins. It’s sort of ironic, really.
Financial wellbeing is about having enough confidence in God’s provision and generosity to respond reciprocally with generosity toward others. The Bible’s teaching on stewardship pretty much boils down to that: God has blessed me to be a blessing to others.
Generosity is a faith issue. It’s never financial.
And Jesus certainly exemplified that sort of trust. We have no record of Him having material possessions other than the clothes on His back. He had no place to lay His head. He trusted that God would provide for Him through the generosity of others.
Church workers are, for the most part, in the same situation. I’m so proud of my partners in ministry throughout the church, women and men (and their families) who serve in the ministry calling, often sacrificing many material benefits they might enjoy in another profession.
I especially marvel at the growing number of bi-vocational pastors. Some begin ministry that way, but so many seek outside employment in order to remain in ministry part-time. It’s a growing trend. It calls for great faith; trust in the providential care of God.
I hope you will find encouragement from the Lord’s own example. Financial sacrifice was certainly a part of His incarnational humiliation. For us He lived the life of a humble servant. He, by His very life, set the example of trust and sacrifice.
I’m working hard whenever I can to encourage congregations to support their workers financially, striving to meet or exceed district guidelines. Many of our churches are doing well. Others struggle and do the best they can.
Your patience, trust, contentment and even your generosity sets an example for the people you serve also. Thank you for the living testimony you are each day.
And thanks for reading.
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