Hello lovely readers!
If this is your first time reading one of my blogs, I want to thank you for taking the time to do that! I pray that my writing reaches the right people at the right time, and that my readers feel encouraged, but also challenged in some ways.
In this blog, I hope to share a little of what I’ve been learning in my journey of support-raising so far. To start, I’ve written a little short story to help me demonstrate and introduce the topic.
THE CHEERFUL GIVER
Lucy Douville couldn’t help the grin on her face as she watched her mirrored reflection scrub her teeth clean in the early morning. Her dog-walking business was booming and just last week, she landed an appointment to share her business with the wealthiest man on the block. She spit her toothpaste in the sink and looked herself in her dark chocolate eyes and winked. “You da woman,” she pointed to her image.
She combed her thick black hair into a ponytail and headed to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. While the eggs cooked and her coffee brewed, Lucy sat at her small rounded table and picked up her Bible. Where are all the verses about giving? She pondered and looked up the word “give” in the index, searching for the one about being a cheerful giver. She knew this rich man down the block went to her church, but she didn’t know him or his family very well. However, if she knew he was a Christian, and knew the verses about giving, then she would be able to tell how much he could give her because surely he lived by the giving standards of the Bible as well. After finding the verse, the eggs and coffee were ready, which she munched on optimistically, and then grabbed her bag and headed out the door.
Lucy sauntered down the sidewalk without notice of the middle-class homes that lined the streets. She halted her pace outside the white-picket fence, the perfectly mowed lawn and trimmed bushes, of the mansion at the end of the road. After taking a deep breath, she gently pushed the white gate open and walked down the cemented path lined with flowers that burst in various colours of purple, yellow and blue. She knocked on the left door of the intricately designed double doors.
She didn’t have to knock twice.
“Hello! Ms. Douville, is it?” He smiled with perfectly white teeth. She would have thought he was young if it wasn’t for the white hair that made for a stark contrast against his dark skin.
Lucy nodded and stuck out her hand. “You can call me Lucy, Sir!”
“Derek,” He shook her hand loosely, then rested it on the door frame. “Well, what can I do for you?”
Lucy hesitated. She was here to walk his dogs. But also to ask him to be paid well for walking his dogs. “Umm, God loves a cheerful giver!” Lucy stuttered out of her lips. “From 2 Corinthians -”
“ – 9:7,” Derek finished for her. “I know the verse,” he chuckled. “Well how about I cheerfully give you $5 a month for walking my dogs every day?” He suggested nonchalantly.
Five dollars?! Lucy’s thoughts screamed. I’m a grown woman with a grown business! This is insulting! But all she could say was, “Sure, sounds good.”
As Derek babbled on about the breed and names of his dogs, how often he needed them walked and the amount of time they were supposed to be outside, all Lucy could think about was how self-centred this man must be if he couldn’t offer her more money for giving him this service. This was her time and her efforts. Was $5 even worth it? Should she just tell him she can’t do it at all? Some Christian he is. Lucy thought sarcastically.
Derek completed his list of instructions with, “Now, I’ve already walked them this morning, so you can come back tonight.”
Lucy nodded, said her goodbyes and let the door close behind her, leaving her to wallow in her own disappointment. She took out a piece of paper and a pen from her purse and wrote a note to Derek, “I’m sorry, but I cannot take this job anymore.” She stuck it in between the engraved doubled doors, and headed down the cement path once more.
On her way home, she did not even think once of the verse under “receive” in the index of her Bible that read “We have not because we ask not” (James 4:2).
“THE GOD ASK” – WHAT I’VE BEEN LEARNING
Growing up, I was taught to be thankful for what I was given and ask for nothing more. “God will provide if you just have faith!” I had heard others say. I was told that God knows the desires of our hearts and will grant them if we just follow and obey him.
All of these sentences have some biblical truth to them. But all of them are also slightly flawed, and because of that, for a long time, I never even thought about telling God my desires and asking him for something. I mean, he already knew what my desires were, right?
But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t want us to talk to Him and ask Him for things. He loves us, wants to bless us, and wants us to converse with Him about our desires!
Currently, I am reading the book “The God Ask” by Steve Shadrach, which has not only given me different perspective on biblical support raising, but has also changed my view of who God is, how He operates as a loving, giving God, and how I need to go to God for everything. My dependence and full reliance on Him are a must if I am going to go through with anything.
From Lucy’s story, it’s easy to pick out that she was the problem in the whole situation, even though she thought it was Derek’s “self-centredness” the whole time. We can pick out that she should have practiced what she was going to say beforehand, and that maybe she shouldn’t have assumed anything about him, amongst other things she could have done differently.
We can’t control the choices others make, and it’s certainly wrong to manipulate a situation to benefit us, but what we can do is take responsibility for our own actions and choices. Imagine if Lucy had simply said, “Well, I was actually hoping for something more… could you do more like $50 a month?” Maybe he only said $5 because he didn’t know the average for walking dogs, maybe he didn’t know how big Lucy’s business was, or maybe he really could only afford $5 a month because he had to pay for his wife’s really expensive therapy. We don’t know. But the point is that Lucy would never know because she never asked.
This is a simple concept, yet one I found lacking in my life for too long, and have been learning over and over again in my season of support raising.
To stretch this concept further though, The God Ask talks about not just asking outwardly (towards people), but asking upwardly (towards God). All finances are God’s – another concept I seemed to have forgotten. Asking God first for provision before going to others is what I have been working on as I know that God will show me who to ask and how to ask in the right ways. God provides for those doing his work and it’s shown over and over again throughout the scriptures.
Asking is really hard sometimes, so that’s why I’m asking you to keep me in your prayers as I continue in this journey of asking. The story of Nehemiah is one I have been studying and trying to model after as he made “the God ask” first and then went to the King.
THE CHALLENGE: WILL YOU ASK?
I challenge you to come before the Lord with a big ask that has been on your heart for a while. A great part of this is offering the self in full surrender to Him as you ask. A worship song that has been on my heart for a while during my season is “Defender” by Jesus Culture. The lyrics to the chorus sing to the Lord, “Hallelujah you have saved me, so much better your way”. His ways are better. His ways are higher (Isaiah 55: 8-9). Not only that, but He is our great defender! We don’t always understand God’s decisions, but I believe that sometimes He makes the decisions He does because He is choosing to guard our hearts and protect us from something we think might be good for us. When we know this, we can rejoice in asking because we can start to understand the fullness of His love and awesome plans for each one of us! There is nothing wrong with asking God for something. He welcomes it, He loves it because He loves you. Offer everything to Him and ask away, He’s waiting for you.
“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.” (Isaiah 30:18, emphasis added)
I’m still learning about this whole asking thing. It’s a process that I want to get better at – expecting great things from the Lord. I hope you choose to join me in asking the Lord for great things, expecting great things, and awaiting His great response with an open heart towards His ways 🙂