Guest blog by Jonathan and Marina Clark
We have been praying about how God might use us and our resources to be a part of His work here at Baptist Temple. We do not give to Baptist Temple, these buildings, not to lights or salaries but to God who gave us everything we have. Through study we have come to know that every stitch of clothing and every possession we have was always God’s, they do not belong to us.
The scripture says,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 (NIV)
Our debts represent another master in our life and they frustrate the desire to give to God because ultimately they represent our own selfish desires in that they hinder us. Our ability to give is hindered by other masters.
When we married we had to combine our households and we ended up with an abundance of stuff that we would not let go. Consequently, our stuff has become another master.
Despite our mismanagement God continues to provide for all of our family’s needs. So we are recognizing that God is the one who has made it possible for us to give above and beyond our current tithes and offerings.
This year, when we returned to school we were told that we would not only receive a raise they had originally considered but also 2% beyond that. During the same time our church began the Capital Campaign and challenged us to seek prayerfully the amount God was calling us to give over and beyond our tithe. While Jonathan and I were praying and discussing an amount we realized that I had not received a raise by chance. My raise happened just as the scripture says “for such a time as this” so we decided that the minimum amount we would give over the next 3 years was the amount of my increase that I received as a raise.
A portion of some unexpected return of moneys has provided us a way to make a first fruits offering as well.
God is helping us to sell off, throw away, and cast out the excessive possessions we have hung on to so long. Jesus said that, to whom much has been given much is required. He is already revealing ways that we could use these hindrances for His glory. Our marriage is being strengthened because He is creating a like mindedness about giving and providing freedom from oppressive masters as a result.
We challenge you to pray and see what God has blessed you with this year because He never gives without purpose.