“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …”
Being obedient to God can be hard.
But I have learnt that
– Being obedient unlocks blessing and favour.
– Obedience is a sign of respect and honour.
– Being obedient shows you are trustworthy, faithful and a good listener.
– Obedience is a sign that you are ready for more responsibility and ownership.
Before I was married I felt, on several occasions, to bless people with money or a particular gift. Early on in my christian walk I decided that if God asked me to do something, even if I was unsure, I would do it.
Better to have been generous and it not be from God than to not do it and be disobedient.
On one occasion I felt prompted to give a set amount of money to a leader and friend for an unknown period of time. I approached them and told them what I felt God had told me to do. They were quick to thank me, but refused to give me their bank account details so I could put the money in. (I had only asked for the bank account because I knew it was going to be a weekly thing for an extended period of time.)
When they said no I was confused. My confidence in whether God had spoken to me was knocked.
Do I listen to my leader who says no, or do I find a way to do it anyway?
Is just offering, with the intention of following through, enough to show obedience to what God had spoken to me?
I wasn’t sure. So I decided I would continue with blessing my leader with the amount God had told me.
Each week I would withdraw the money and put it into an envelope. I would then hide the money – sometimes in their handbag or car, other times in their bible or wherever. I continued to do this until God told me to stop.
I’m not telling you this story to make myself sound oh so generous and holy. Because really I’m not.
Its because, for the first time I understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone else’s obedience.
I now understand the reluctance to take the money.
I mentioned earlier how blessed Grant and I were when our friends Leo and Fi gave us a large sum of money to pay for a round of treatment and some acupuncture appointments. It was a ridiculous amount of money and it really helped Grant and I out a lot. We were seriously overwhelmed and unsure how to act.
And now, tonight my dear friend Jesse rang me to tell me that I had been on her mind a lot lately. I know that she has been praying for Grant and I, and my complex health issues. She relates in a way that none of my other friends can as she has been down this path too, and has a beautiful baby girl as the result. Tonight she rang to say that they felt God had instructed them to pay for our next round and she just wants to be obedient.
Leo and Fi, Jay and Jesse – these are my friends, my dear, God fearing, obedient, faith filled friends. Who I know could use this money for a hundred other things. I know this because we are close. They have bills to pay, dreams to fund, a baby to provide for. And yet they choose to hear God and obey.
Tonight I stood there with my phone to my ear, mouth open, locking eyes with Grant. He knew with one look on my face what the conversation was about. Yet again someone was supporting us financially. “We cant” he whispered.
And that was when I remembered when someone said no to me. And how it knocked my confidence in whether I had heard God or not. And I thought of how it felt to be obedient and be used by God. And what God had done in me as a result. And how God moved and my leaders testimony that came out years later about what God had done through my obedience.
So it was an awkward conversation. Because how do you express the magnitude of gratitude that you feel without it sounding hollow? How do you say anything when you are in complete shock? I stood there making sounds, attempting to form words coherently.
Because earlier today I really was unsure how we were going to pay for the next round, and here was the answer.
Grant doesn’t like taking money from people for our treatment. He sees it from the perspective of, what if it doesn’t work? That is good money wasted. Money that could have been spent on a hundred different things.
And its true, it was so horrible having to tell Leo and Fi that although they had been faithful and obedient, the money was gone and there was still no baby. It was an awful conversation. And I wanted to avoid them, run away and hide in shame. Its hard not feel like its my fault. But I have no idea what God is doing in Leo and Fi’s lives, what I do know is that God works in everything and that they will be blessed because of their obedience.
So it was an awkward conversation with Jesse, because I wanted to say no. I wanted to spare myself the embarrassment of taking money from a friend. I wanted to spare myself the horrible conversation I may or may not have to have again if it doesn’t work. But I said yes and that we would talk more about it this weekend.
I said yes because I didn’t want something that made me feel embarrassed get in the way of what God wants to do in our friends lives and our lives. And I will always want to champion their faith and for them to be obedient to God. I know its up to Grant and I to decide whether we are going to let money affect our friendships. We will not let this become awkward or embarrassing. But rather we will celebrate in what God is doing, and be thankful for supportive, faithful friends who love us.