The Gift of Administration

Who has the gift of administration in your ministry?

Who has the gift of administration in your ministry

In 2 Chronicles we see how Solomon became king and God asked him what he wanted. Solomon asked for wisdom. in Chapter 2 Solomon got to work on his father David’s request that he build the temple for the Lord God. He started out by writing a letter to King Hiram of Lebanon, a neighbouring country to place an order for cedar, pine and algum logs and a skilled craftsman to teach his own people the skills needed to build this large and grand temple. Solomon promised to pay with 20,000 cors (measure) each of ground wheat, barley, and 20,000 baths of wine and also of olive oil.

King Hiram wrote back to accept the terms of the purchase order, asking Solomon to send the food payments, and his men would cut the trees and float them by sea to Joppa, from where Solomon’s men could get them up to Jerusalem.

Solomon also rounded up all that were left of the Canaanites in the land and made them slaves to do the hardest work. His own people, the Israelites were made soldiers, taskmasters, and craftsmen.

The building began, and the interior walls were overlaid with pure gold, and the curtains and furnishings were also made. All this took 20 years.

After that Solomon called a huge assembly of the people, to dedicate the finished temple to the Lord God.

We see that when God wants something done, He raises up a man with the right gifts and abilities. To be able to organize resources and people, procure what is needed and schedule the workers is a gift of administration or management. A gift that is not always recognized or utilized. The one who has this gift is not necessarily the one who is the figurehead leader. The leader who knows this and delegates this responsibility to the one who has the gift of administration, is very wise.

I notice too, that Solomon made a detailed list of what he was asking King Hiram to supply. Perhaps here is a clue for when we pray and ask God to provide the resources we need for the assignment He has given us. We have not because we ask not.

Generous Radio Waves

Picture of Radio station - Free Pictures - FreeFoto.com

While travelling through Central Asia this past June, we met a taxi driver who is a believer. He drove us all the way to the border, where we then parted and travelled further. On the ride, he told us that he is a sharer of the Good News and drives a taxi to earn a livelihood. He uses the taxi to enrich lives in his own unique way, and our FM broadcasts play an important part in it.

When the time for the programme comes up, he switches on his radio. Whoever sits in the taxi hears the broadcast. Often people ask whether it is a CD or a tape. When they hear it is a radio programme, they listen very attentively. After the programme, he engages his clients in a discussion about his beliefs. So the taxi ride turns into a special event….
From TWR radio news 14/11/17 [slightly edited]

Trans World Radio is the world’s most far-reaching Christian radio network.  Speaking fluently in more than 230 languages, TWR exists to reach the world for Jesus Christ. Our global media outreach engages millions in 190 countries with biblical truth, leading lead people from doubt to decision to discipleship. You can find out more by going to www.twr.org.uk/news.

TWR-UK broadcasts quality, speech-led Christian radio with news, current affairs and Bible teaching throughout the UK on Freeview HD 733, sky guide 0138, Freesat 790 and at www.twr.org.uk.

Global Nomad

When Leaders Give First

Truly successful fund-raising project get off the ground best when leaders give first. They need to set the example.

Do you feel that God has given you a vision for something He (God) wants done, but you don’t know where the resources or funds will come from to accomplish it?

King David of Israel also had such a vision. (I Chronicles 29). His own heart and soul was in this goal of building a temple for his God. He wanted something permanent to replace the old tent tabernacle that God had given instructions for in the desert years from captivity in Egypt to their new home in Canaan. Of course, David couldn’t start building right away.

However, as the national wealth grew, David set aside funds and purchased resources from far away places to stockpile and build up until God would give the go-ahead signal to build this grand temple in which to worship God. This saving and waiting took most of David’s adult years as king.

Then the Lord told him that He did not want David to build it because he was a man who had shed blood. Rather his son Solomon would build the temple.

So David called an assembly of Israel, and announced that Solomon was to be the next king, and he passed the vision on to him. At this point David asked the people if they would also like to give to this great thing. Of course, seeing his generosity, the leaders of Israel gave from their own resources, too.

It would seem that David had been spending national funds to bring in the resources, so now he dug even deeper into his personal coffers, and gave another large gift.

When leaders give first; All these things have I given willingly with honest intent . . .I Chron. 29:17b-18a

The take-away from David’s example is quite obvious, isn’t it? A leader who believes in a project must be the first one to do some serious giving to sponsor it. Then others will follow suit.

Living in poverty most of my life, I had little money to contribute to the ideas we had at Western Tract Mission (sometimes ones I had suggested myself), but then I threw myself behind them by doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes work to get the project rolling. I invested of my time and myself. I let my enthusiasm show publically. When I did that the rest of the Board and staff, and our supporters would step in and get involved too, in whatever way they could.

It is safe to make this a principle; if you want others to donate and get involved in a worthy project, step forth and show that you are ready to give and be involved. Better yet, see what happens when leaders give first.

Inspiring Generosity

Over the past year, I have been privileged to meet up with Dr John, an inspirational speaker. Most months we have been able to catch up over a cuppa in his home. Dr John and Sue, his wife, live in the UK and you can read all about their story in the website: http://johnbradshawtalks.co.uk/ 

My Story

I grew up in Zimbabwe during the civil war. After finishing school I was conscripted into the army and volunteered to join a specialist unit defusing booby trapped land-mines. During that time I was badly injured and am now totally blind.

After partially recovering from my injuries, I pursued an academic career. I obtained a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge and went on to teach university level Computer Science for several years. At the same time, I managed a large undergraduate residence at the University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg.

Following a successful career in the academic world, I returned to the family farm to pursue my dream. After 7 successful and happy years, we were evicted as part of Mugabe’s land redistribution programme, having been given just 24 hours to vacate the farm. We lost both our homes and our livelihoods.

Determined to stay in my beloved country, I returning to education, as headmaster at one of Zimbabwe’s leading independent schools, Watershed College. From there I was approached to head the top girls boarding school, Peterhouse Girls. I am told that I was the only totally blind headmaster running a “normal” school in the world.

In 2014 due to the continued difficult political situation and family commitments, I resigned as headmaster and moved to the UK with my wife Sue and Sabre, my guide dog.  We now live in Sherborne, Dorset.

If you are based in the UK, then maybe you would like to arrange for Dr John to speak at your business or organisation or function. His desire is to inspire people to be generous in their relationships with iothers.

When Supporters Give More than You Need

Have you ever seen a time when supporters give more than you need?

To really learn how God wants us to do our ministry fund-raising, it is good to look at His instructions for building the Tabernacle in the wilderness. This took place near the beginning of the Israelites’ big move from being slaves in Egypt to possessing their promised land.

Remember, they were in transition for 40 years. God wanted them to have a place to worship Him, and it needed to be attractive enough to keep them from making and worshipping golden idols like that calf again. So God gave Moses very detailed instructions for the creation of the tabernacle and the visual aides for their worship. (See Exodus chapters 25-31 and 35-40 for those precise details).

Who was to pay for all of that though? How was Moses to raise the funds for this big ministry project?

Simple. Once Moses had explained the plan to all the people in the camp, he was to invite the people to contribute the raw materials and the wealth needed to complete this big place of worship. The materials needed were specified but the giving was optional, and the amounts the people wanted to give were optional.

What happened? Did Moses have to plead every Sabbath for the people to give, even a tenth?

No. When Moses told the people plainly the details of God’s instructions, the people responded gladly and – listen to this: they gave more than what was needed! Moses had to tell them to stop. (I don’t know of any other place in the Bible where this has happened).

We see in Exodus 35:29, “All the Israelite men and women who were willing brought to the LORD freewill offerings for all the work the LORD through Moses had commanded them to do.” Then in the next chapter, 36, we see that the skilled workmen appointed to do put the tabernacle together, told Moses that the people had brought more than enough. “Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.‘ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do the work.

Say! Wouldn’t you love to send out such a message to all your supporters? – Whoa! Whoa! Stop! We’ve reached a time when supporters give more than we need!”

Let’s go back to the Bible to see what might be the requirements to trigger such a situation.

Please note that God had given Moses all the detailed instructions and patterns for building every part of the tabernacle and it’s furnishings. All he was required to do was share those plans with the people, and ask them to bring the material resources. Some of the women spun yarn and made linen fabric, and even sewed animal skins together, so they were able to be involved practically too.

The most obvious suggestion then would be to share your plans with your supporters and show them that this is direction from the Lord God Himself. (This implies that you have heard from, and worked out with the Lord beforehand what His plan is for your ministry).

Secondly, if your supporters are motivated by the plan and see that it is from God, you will not need to tell them how much to give. They will want to be part of the Work of God, and will gladly give as much as they can. You may, in fact, reach a point where you have to ask the givers to stop giving – because you have more than you can use! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Generous Conversations

How many people have you talked to today?

Conversation 

This is maybe a surprise question but I believe an important one. Taking time to engage meaningfully with others – such as staff in shops and supermarkets –  is very important to everyone. The bank, which I use here in the UK, encourages their staff to be friendly and to “connect” in a real way with customers. They sometimes ask a question like: “Do you have anything interesting lined up for the rest of the day?” or “Do you have anything special in your schedule this afternoon/morning?” Excellent communication skills.

While travelling in an inter-city train recently, I noted an advert. It depicted a “senior youngster” looking somewhat sad.  The script stated that she had not spoken to anyone for 3 weeks or so. Thus readers were encouraged to text a suggested gift of £3 to the organisation that would enable the lady to have a lunch out and make friends. In the script, it also stated that there were 1 million others just like her in the UK who were in similar situations.

Quite a challenging advert…. I checked it with someone else in the caring profession who endorsed the fact that many folks went for long periods without talking to anyone…. Let’s turn this situation around.;…

Recently, on a train journey, I had the wonderful experience of being able to dialogue with the person sitting next to me for about 2 hours…  It was so rich and interesting as we had both been overseas on assignments. On arrival, I was able to meet other members of the family….

Noticing a business commuter on an evening train doing a puzzle…. I said “Good evening..” He was so grateful to be able to talk to someone. He shared how so often no one would engage in conversation. As we dialogued, he asked me a question he had been desiring to ask someone in the Non-Profit world. “Should he have a significant donation to lodge with our organization, how would we guarantee that it reached his desired destination?”. It was a privilege to outline our verification process for recipient projects. He was very grateful, I then enquired if I might ask him a question. ” Should he hear of a country manor house management that was looking for good managers could, he let us know?” “Look out for the phone call..” was his kind response.  His business was designing special showrooms for cars, furniture etc….

Global Nomad….

Provision Through Poor Single Women

As a servant of God, do you appreciate, or despise God’s provision through poor poor single women? Maybe you feel so sorry for them and dare not ask them to help you out?

Here’s another way God provided for Elijah. (Note that God delights in surprising us with ways of providing for us that we would never have thought of).

(Yes, we looked at this story a few weeks ago, but this time we look at it from another angle).

This story is also in 1 Kings chapter 17, following right after the time Elijah spent by the brook Kerith, where God fed him through Ravens and the clear water in the brook. Because of the drought in the land, the brook dried up eventually too. So God told Elijah to get up and go to the village of Zarephath in Sidon.

God told him that He had already commanded a widow there to feed him. We don’t read any details about how God did that, but we can be sure He had already commanded the widow. Elijah didn’t even have to hunt for her.

As soon as he reached the gate of Zarephath, he met a woman gathering sticks for a fire. He asked for a drink of water in a jar.

As she went to get it, Elijah called out, “And please bring me a piece of bread.”

The woman must have recognized him as a prophet of God; she stopped and said, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

This woman knew something of the God of the prophet, and must have had some respect for this God, but had not trusted Him for herself yet.

Well, Elijah had just completed a course in trusting God, so he caught on to God’s plan for provision through poor widows. Elijah told her to make a little cake (or bun) for him first, and then there would be enough for more for herself and her son in her resources. Her flour and oil would not run out until the day the Lord sent rain again.

The widow woman obeyed and found it to be so. All three of them were able to eat until the end of the famine!

Do you see a giving principle, and an asking principle, staring right at us in this true story?

The woman decided to trust God to provide for her and her son, but putting the request to provide food for the prophet or servant of God first. By getting her priorities right, God met all her family’s needs. That would be the giving principle.

From Elijah’s side, he merely had to obey God and ask (as instructed), the first widow he encountered at Zarephath. They both had to show fresh faith every day, yet, I’m sure their faith in God increased as they saw that He met their need for food on a daily basis.

I have found this to be true too. During the years I cared for my parents, I maintained my pledge to God to pay my tithes and offerings. Back in 1977 I had begged God to help me get out of debt and promised that I would give a tithe to missions (as I already was doing) but then give another tithe especially to missions. It took a few years, but I have kept that pledge through thick and thin. During those caregiver years I often had no income except what a pen pal might tuck into a card or letter.

Do you notice that I still have body and soul together? 🙂 God did not fail me, and I learned that I didn’t need everything I wanted. Not only that, but I learned that God delights in making provision through poor widows and single women.

What if you are in Elijah’s sandals, as a servant of God, relying on the gifts of others so you can focus on ministry

Then, like Elijah, a worthy example, you must trust God to lead you to those He has appointed to meet your needs. They may not be rich patrons, or large foundations. They may be poor single women who have to trust God for their own daily bread. They may grow in faith and obedience at the same time you are learning to do the same. The point is to trust God, not the poor woman.

After a while the Lord may put you into a different situation again, to learn new lessons and to cause someone else to learn to give. It’s all a question of trusting the God we serve with an utter abandon. Then we will know that He will never fail us!

Do not despise God’s provision through poor widows or even single women and old maids.

An Angel to Meet Your Personal Needs

Has God ever sent an angel to meet your personal needs?

This story happened just after the contest on Mount Carmel between Elijah, prophet of God, and the 450 prophets of Baal – all to determine who was the One true God. God provided fire to burn up Elijah’s soggy offering; the people rose up and killed the 450 false prophets; and rain came at last. But Elijah was so drained from the whole experience that when Queen Jezebel sent word that she would have Elijah killed within 24 hours, he took off running.

God had not changed or lost any power to deliver him, but when anyone of us is utterly exhausted we are liable to imagine and do stupid things. He left his servant behind at Beersheba and kept running.

(What a rush of panic adrenalin!) He ran for another full day into the desert.

There he dropped under a broom tree and begged God to take his life.

Does any memory come to the surface of a time when you panicked and ran the other direction until you dropped in your tracks?

The part that surprises me here is that God did not scold Elijah and remind him of his fantastic victory on Mount Carmel. God just let His servant sleep. His body needed recharging first of all.

Then he needed nourishment. So God sent an angel to bake him a bun or small loaf of bread, and bring a bottle of water. Not just once, but twice. No scolding, just, “The journey is too long for you; you need to eat.”

That almost sounds as if God had scheduled this trip for Elijah. It was part of His divine plan for His servant.

Now that angel food and water must have been powerful stuff, because by the strength he received he was able to travel another 40 days and 40 nights, until he reached Mount Horeb. That’s was God’s mountain, the place where He had written out the ten commandments on tablets of stone for Moses and the people.

Hey, if we are going to run away – the place to run to is God. Get away and alone with HIM! Never mind the distance or the cost!

Now for some of us that may not mean such a long trip. I know I could never run that far or long.

In my case, I know that I just need to reach for my Bible, and go curl up in my soft recliner, and ignore all my usual to-do lists. When I’m over the initial exhaustion, I get back to my computer desk and start journalling away, to work out the issues before the Lord, waiting for Him to show me His mind and attitude and even His specific message for me in all of this.

I can’t say that an angel has ever wakened me from a sound nap to offer me physical food from Heaven. But I have been spiritually nourished by God’s Word, and gained fresh insights and enthusiasm to go on in serving the Lord.

I’ve never seen an angel with my eyes; perhaps an invisible angel has come to meet my personal needs. I just credit the Lord with the sense of His presence and encouragement. In the Old Testament days He seemed to send angels, but today we can meet with the Lord directly if we are His.

The important thing to remember when we panic is to run towards the Lord, and not away from Him!

Provision Through Poor Widows

As a servant of God, do you appreciate, or despise God’s provision through poor widows? Maybe you feel so sorry for them and dare not ask them to help you out?

Here’s another way God provided for Elijah. (Note that God delights in surprising us with ways of providing for us that we would never have thought of).

This story is also in 1 Kings chapter 17, following right after the time Elijah spent by the brook Kerith, where God fed him through Ravens and the clear water in the brook. Because of the drought in the land, the brook dried up eventually too. So God told Elijah to get up and go to the village of Zarephath in Sidon.

God told him that He had already commanded a widow there to feed him. We don’t read any details about how God did that, but we can be sure He had already commanded the widow. Elijah didn’t even have to hunt for her.

As soon as he reached the gate of Zarephath, he met a woman gathering sticks for a fire. He asked for a drink of water in a jar.

As she went to get it, Elijah called out, “And please bring me a piece of bread.”

The widow must have recognized him as a prophet of God; she stopped and said, “As surely as the LORD your God lives, I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

This widow knew something of the God of the prophet, and must have had some respect for this God, but had not trusted Him for herself yet.

Well, Elijah had just completed a course in trusting God, so he caught on to God’s plan for provision through poor widows. Elijah told her to make a little cake (or bun) for him first, and then there would be enough for more for herself and her son in her resources. Her flour and oil would not run out until the day the Lord sent rain again.

provision through poor widows

The widow obeyed and found it to be so. All three of them were able to eat until the end of the famine!

Do you see a giving principle, and an asking principle, staring right at us in this true story?

The widow decided to trust God to provide for her and her son, but putting the request to provide food for the prophet or servant of God first. By getting her priorities right, God met all her family’s needs. That would be the giving principle.

From Elijah’s side, he merely had to obey God and ask (as instructed), the first widow he encountered at Zarephath. They both had to show fresh faith every day, yet, I’m sure their faith in God increased as they saw that He met their need for food on a daily basis.

I have found this to be true too. During the years I cared for my parents, I maintained my pledge to God to pay my tithes and offerings. Back in 1977 I had begged God to help me get out of debt and promised that I would give a tithe to missions (as I already was doing) but then give another tithe especially to missions. It took a few years, but I have kept that pledge through thick and thin. During those caregiver years I often had no income except what a pen pal might tuck into a card or letter.

Do you notice that I still have body and soul together? 🙂 God did not fail me, and I learned that I didn’t need everything I wanted. Not only that, but I learned that God delights in making provision through poor widows and single women.

What if you are in Elijah’s sandals, as a servant of God, relying on the gifts of others so you can focus on ministry?

Then, like Elijah, a worthy example, you must trust God to lead you to those He has appointed to meet your needs. They may not be rich patrons, or large foundations. They may be poor widows who have to trust God for their own daily bread. They may grow in faith and obedience at the same time you are learning to do the same. The point is to trust God, not the widow.

After a while the Lord may put you into a different situation again, to learn new lessons and to cause someone else to learn to give. It’s all a question of trusting the God we serve with an utter abandon. Then we will know that He will never fail us!

Do not despise God’s provision through poor widows or even old maids.

Trust God, Like Elijah, for Daily Food

Could you trust God like Elijah, for daily food?

trusting God like Eljah for your daily food

God used a raven or ravens to bring Elijah his daily food when God sent His servant to hide in the ravine called Keireth. Elijah did not have to make appeals or plead for these provisions. God just took care of them, albeit in a very simple way to a basic limit. See I Kings 17:1-7 for the story.

It is humbling to trust God for our very daily food, never having enough for the next meal until that time comes. And yet, when we submit to such a trying situation with real faith in God – yes, even if it is struggle of the will at first, – we will come to a quiet confidence in our God. Worry and fear fade away, as we become convinced to our bones that God really is a loving Heavenly Father, and He is truly providing for us.

As I write that, I realize that this is exactly what God taught me over the 20+ years that I cared for my parents in their home. They expected it of me as their eldest and single daughter. For two years I resisted and wrestled with God in prayer over this. Mainly I was afraid to trust God with such a risky and indefinite future. But I did want to please Him most of all, and though I didn’t sense pressure from the Lord, I did feel that He was quietly waiting for me to come around.

One night I woke to a sensation of waves of joy washing over me. I told the Lord, that if that was what He had in store for me, I would – in faith – give up my job and the ministries I had in our local church, and I would move home to care for my parents.

That was a very big move. I had to resign from my job and from 7 responsibilities in the church. The bus ride home took 48 hours and I wept myself dry during that trip. In fact, I was sick for four days when I got to my parents’ home.

(In fact, that first night a call came, and the next morning my parents got on a bus going west, for my paternal grandmother’s funeral. That give me four days of privacy in which to rest and unwind).

There were many adjustments to make, and I spent hours pouring my heart into my prayer journals. But some years later when Mom’s already precarious health got much worse I realized God’s wisdom in having me come well before that period so that I would be able to focus on the caregiving without the trauma of my big move.

Now, I was not to the point that Elijah was, sitting on the side of a trickling creek, and waiting for a raven to drop a single meal-serving of meat into my hand. (I wonder sometimes how many ways he found to prepare that food so he could have a change in taste).

my parents

In my case, my parents were frugal and careful, and debt-free with a big garden that used up the whole backyard, so I could eat well. But I learned to become a better cook. As their health failed more and more, I became like Joseph in Potiphar’s house. I managed everything, and my parents had nothing to worry about. Their meals appeared regularly on the table. I did all their necessary shopping. I learned nursing skills, and how to discern when to take them to the doctor, or Emergency, and so on.

Mom and myself on Mother's Day

Looking back now I am grateful that in the earlier years God taught me to humble myself, be content with what I had, and when I needed something to ask HIM alone, even if it was just postage to write to my pen-pals. He always provided in some rather creative ways. My relationship with Him became far more important than having all that others had, or what I used to think I had to have.

Yes, I could tell many stories of those years, and then the last 10 years since both have them have passed on to their eternal home. How God has blessed me richly since then!

But the point to make here is that if God should send you, like Elijah, to a hidden ravine, and there reduce you to the most elemental needs, and promise to meet those needs, I can testify that you can trust God with an utter abandon! He will take care of you! What’s more, you may well end up with a time of blessing beyond that period. Elijah did not die there in that ravine on the diet God provided. You might – but don’t count on it! When you’ve learned to trust Him, He will lift you up again.

Yes, it is very possible to trust God, like Elijah, for daily food – and everything else you might ever need!