(Part four in the Raising Financial Support series from Tim Parlier. Read part five here.)

I don’t know what the Spirit is desiring to speak to you through my story, but I want you to allow Him some space to speak to your heart. 

If you’ve been reading this series at all you know by now that I’ve been discussing a lot of internal struggles that come with raising personal financial support for ministry/life. I’m writing to a specific audience who I feel is in the greatest area of need: planters without sufficient local support through giving as well as everyone else in the “para-church” or “non profit/missions” world where we’re dependent on the giving of others to fund our ministry—and let’s face it, our tangible needs (rent, cars, groceries, bills, family, etc.).

Along those lines my theology tells me, “God is good, so I don’t have to look elsewhere.” Yet my heart often retorts, “God is good sometimes, usually to other people, so you better take care of most of it or you’ll be high and dry.” Specifically, in fundraising, I experience that gap often.

This month my good Father snapped me out of my unbelief, and I’d love to share the story. . . .

Last week (December 20) I had breakfast with one of my donors for F.C.A. He’s actually much more than a donor; he’s a family friend and personal mentor. During our conversation we transitioned to talking about the future, my growing family (we’re expecting our second baby boy in early February), and all that entails.

At one point he leaned in and said, “My wife and I love to bless people sporadically in an extravagant ways in response to the way God has blessed us.” Then he asked me, “Have you and Allison considered getting a family-sized vehicle?” My head dropped down, and I let out a sigh in shock and disbelief at what he was possibly about to propose. I shook my head, looked back up at him, and with a slight grin replied, “Actually, I just got off the phone with a dealership yesterday and had planned to go look at some options this afternoon.” With tears welling up in his eyes he dropped it on me: “We would love if you would allow us to bless you in this way and allow us to buy you a car of your choice that would serve your family for the next ten years.” Again, my head dropped. I was overwhelmed with emotion; tears filled my eyes.

In part I was remorseful, because I was confronted with my sin—the lies I believe about God and the warped version of Him I was holding to. Partly I was humbled that this man would choose to lavish a gift on me in this way that I am so underserving of. Mostly I was just overwhelmed with love from my Father: that He knows me, He sees my needs, and He even sees my WANTS.

I was overwhelmed that in the midst of my unbelief He is ready and willing to step through it and show me how amazing and good He really is. Those lies that swirl in my head and heart about God being distant were zapped in one moment’s time, for now. Flash forward to just two days ago, Allison and I drove home in a brand new SUV that is a perfect fit for our growing family that will last us well into the future. Not only were we blessed, but we experienced the joy it gave our friends/donors to give a gift like that!

I don’t know what the Spirit is desiring to speak to you through my story, but I want you to allow Him some space to speak to your heart.

Have you believed the serpent’s lie that “God is holding out on you”?  You’re not alone.

I hope my story is an encouragement to you.  You see, this vehicle is more than just an amazing gift to our family.  It is a tangible daily reminder that our Dad is the best Dad ever, and He loves to give good gifts to His kids. It is also a daily reminder that as cool as this new SUV is, this gift is NOTHING compared to what we were given on the cross. The grace of Jesus dwarfs any gift we could ever receive from human hands.

As I continue this series on raising support I want you to keep this in mind: The size of the cross in our lives will determine how tightly we cling to the lesser gifts we’ve been given or the gifts we hope to receive. Within the support raising discussion it can be easy to fall into the mindset that says, “I couldn’t possibly ask/receive a financial gift like that!”—to which let me retort with an old Soma sermon where Jeff Vanderstelt challenged a woman in his missional community, “If you can’t receive a gift as little as this earthly financial gift, how are you ever going to be able to receive what Jesus offers you at the cross?”

So as we close 2016, let me ask you . . . what is most glorious to you? What’s more impressive: someone giving you a new car, paying off your debt, getting 100% funded, or the cross? My prayer for us in the fundraising world is that the cross looms large in our lives, and our funding efforts are motivated by us simply picking up the good gifts our amazing Father has left for us. He is present, He is good, and He is FOR YOU.

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