Sometimes I wonder whether our modesty has become a bushel that hides our light. Paul on occasion found the need to boast of the things he had suffered to preach, list the things he had given up to follow Jesus, and report the work he had done by God's grace (2Cor 11:16-33, Phil 3:4-7, Acts 14:27, 15:12). Not only so, but Barnabas's generosity was known to the whole church (Acts 4:36-37). Somehow, it seems we have let our fear of appearing like Ananias and Sapphira keep us from letting our light shine. Of course, many of you have already figured out that the above is my excuse for doing a little boasting. Judge whether it is light shining or ego.
For most of our 48 ½ years, Dene and I have lived with our financial noses barely above water and occasionally sputtered and bubbled a little bit. Then, beginning with the death of my parents we got our chins out and with the passing of hers, we find ourselves to be relatively comfortable. We have lived in the same 24 X 56 doublewide since the boys were 5 and 3 (1982) and have upgraded it over the years with a screened porch (her father's gift), a roofover, siding, kitchen cabinets, laminate flooring, but, it is still a mobile home. After the emotions settled from her mother's passing, we discussed building a house on our 5 acres. We can afford it now, a REAL HOUSE!
We decided not. Our grandparents raised 3-8 children in houses much smaller than even this trailer. At my age, we may be here a few more years or a few more days so a house might be all the disruption with little benefit. Finally, many had helped us along the way and we longed for this opportunity to help others. So, we will continue to pray throughout the hurricane season for truly, we live in a house of sticks.
In the last few years, we have helped preachers in Nicaragua, Africa and a few in the U.S. We have donated to St Judes (Not Catholic affiliated), the hospice that cared for our (Dene's) Mom, Sacred Selections, Florida College, etc. We continue to live under the budget set when I retired with an occasional splurge.
I am aware of a number of other twice blessed brethren who have followed the same principle and given much more in dollars, so the following will not apply to many of our readers.
But, it is immediately obvious on the face that many if not most church members are more interested in bigger houses, newer cars, fashionable clothes, recreation, etc. than they are in furthering the work of the Lord. Look where their money goes! Look where their time goes! Listen to what they talk about most. Bigger Barns.
We pray every night for the Christians in other countries that struggle for enough to eat, make decisions about going hungry or buying medicine for an ongoing illness, and other such problems, but who are rich in faith.
We pray just as fervently for Christians in America who are not aware that God is blessing them to meet those needs, not so they can have bigger, better, and more.
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, THAT HE MAY HAVE TO GIVE TO HIM THAT NEEDS. " (Eph 4:28).
"And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise" (Luke 3:11).
"CONTRIBUTE TO THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS, pursue hospitality." (Rom 12:13).
"Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and GENEROUS TO THOSE IN NEED, always being ready to share with others. " (1Tim 6:18).
Jesus and the apostles said one does not have to be rich to share.