Penny-wise, Pound-foolish

Do you remember that old proverbial expression, Penny-wise pound-foolish? I think I have just done that.

Last Saturday I did some unusual giving. I’m still trying to sort out how to think about it.

My church has organized, in the last few years, a Saturday Garage Sale to raise money for missions. Another goal is to use it to connect with the unchurched neighbours in the sub-divisions all around our church. Church members as well as anyone in the community are invited to set up a sales table for themselves, but asked to make a donation of any amount to the missions project.

The Missions committee and volunteers also accept donations of items to sell at the sale and the proceeds from those items go to the missions project too.

Since we have a large gym we can choose to set up there if the day looks rainy or not suitable for outdoors. (No need for a rain date or cancellation).

A very good plan. I decided that instead of having a yard sale at home, I would load up the stuff I’d collected in my front porch for my next sale and set up at the church. I assumed that I would have a totally different crowd of shoppers, and many more of them since it was across the city from my home.

What I had not processed in my mind the physical exhaustion involved.

To make for less loading/unloading of my car in one day, I loaded it up the night before, trunk full, backseat and front passenger seat all full!

penny-wise pound foolish

Staying up late that Friday night to make some business cards and mini-flyers to hand out meant that I had trouble getting up in the morning, so I arrived after 8 am when the Garage Sale was already in full swing. Fortunately, a friend and a stranger stepped up to help me carry my stuff in from the car to my table space in the middle of the gym.

At 2 pm the the Garage Sale was considered ended, so I had to pack up my stuff and carry it out to the car again. Again a man I knew and his young son, stepped in to help, but of course, I ended up doing the most carrying and arranging. I began to get this da ja vu feeling: how come I’m carrying all this stuff so many times?

When I got home I unloaded the car again (because I knew I would have passengers after Church the next day).

I made a quick trip for some groceries and then hungrily gulped a snack before crashing on my bed for a nap. I was utterly exhausted. I don’t often think of my age as a hindrance to anything i want to do, but the thought certainly passed through my mind that I might be too old for this kind of charity work.

Later, I did my bookkeeping. I discovered that I had only gained a little over $34 in cash sales, and I had cheerfully handed $20 over as my donation to the missions committee. Again, I asked myself whether this was a wise way to be giving to missions. Not that I begrudge my gift to Marie Ens’ Place of Rescue in Cambodia at all. But would it not have been wiser to have a simple little yard sale and donate my proceeds the missions project later?

This seemed especially prudent when I saw that my September yard sale last year had netted me over $83. It had not been nearly as exhausting!

My point then, for my own benefit, and perhaps yours, is that it is much better to think through our giving plans and methods so that we are not penny-wise but pound-foolish, to use that old proverb.

Encourager

Be the encourager

The little encourager goes on his way
Encouraging people from day to day;
Cheering the faint with a love that is strong
Aiding the brave as he journeys along.
Urging the weak to continue the fight,
Helping his brother to do what is right;
Lifting the fallen, arousing the slow,
Leading the blind in the way he should go.

The little encourager whistles a tune,
Or sings a glad song from morning till noon.
So busy is he, this encouraging elf,
That he hasn’t a minute to think of himself.
Happy is he, as he urges us on,
Bringing to action our faith, nearly gone,
Prompting, assuring, restoring our cheer,
Giving new hope in the things that are dear.

The little encourager used to be blue –
And this seems a statement too strange to be true.
His mind was so centered on that little ‘me’,
That, past his front door-step he never could see.
Then God gave a vision, he woke with a start!
“Come out from your slumber, and give Me your heart!
You’re saved to save others, no longer delay!
There’s joy in My service! Being it today!

Lord, I would be an encourager, too;
O, banish my sadness, my courage renew.
Give me fresh confidence, trusting in Thee,
That I may rouse others Thy goodness see.
Oh, fill me so full of Thy glory divine,
That love will flow outward through this life of mine.
Lay all of my trouble way back on the shelf,
Make me an encourager, all for Thyself.
               (G. W. Elliott)

From Western Tract Mission, written by the founder and used as a tract for many years. Now in the public domain.

Do you see how much giving and encouraging are interwined? Even when we have nothing else to give others, we are giving them something precious when we encourage them.But of course,, we need to know where to get our supply of courage and encouragement.

Trusting Only God

do you trust ONLY God?

The head of a ministry in Africa and I have been corresponding about whether we are truly trusting only God if we notify our friends and followers that we have a financial need.

I had made some comments about trusting God to meet our needs, and proving it by telling ONLY God about that need. He would then prompt someone to give to that need without any hints from us.

My friend, let’s call him Peter, wrote:

I have made a firm resolution to have all my trust in the Lord. However, does this imply that I should not write newsletters and share a prayer request?

While I was in Bible school several years ago,we were taught to write Newsletters and share the need for ministry and request for prayers.Like in my case, right now, I have not asked any one for return ticket to Burundi, but trusting only God in prayer.

So,I wondering if by sharing out my plan is destroying my dependence on God. I would love some clarification on this.

I wrote back to clarify my position:

When I first saw your email that you wanted to trust God alone – that is what I understood you to mean. If you have liberty from God to share your needs as prayer requests with friends and followers, that is fine. Then do that.

In my own conscience I always felt that I was “hinting” if I did that. A hinting that was directed at those who had given to me in the past. There were a few times that I would say in my letters, I feel that the Lord is directing me to do such and such, but I am waiting on Him to provide before I can know for sure. However, if I was too explicit in my mention of financial need, God would remind me via my conscience, of my pledge to Him of trusting only Him alone.

I think this is ultimately between you and the Lord. I have heard many missionaries throughout my life, and some were quite convinced that they were trusting the Lord, even though they would share their needs with friends and the churches where they would visit to share about their ministry.

On the other hand, I have met missionaries who pattern their lives after C. T. Studd and Hudson Taylor, and even George Mueller (who feed and cared for 1000s of orphans in Bristol, England, by prayer. Not broadcasting exact needs, but sharing only answers to prayer.

In 1983 I moved home to care for my parents in their old age. I knew they could never pay me, so I didn’t do it until I was convinced in my heart that I could trust only God to meet all my needs. And I vowed NEVER to beg or tell anyone else until after God had met my needs.

It was hard not to drop hints to friends who might help. But I learned to stick by my vow and I stayed in that lifestyle for 23 and 1/2 years. Now I find it fairly easy to trust only God for my personal needs.

Presently I’m learning to ask Him for larger business profits so that I can be a generous giver.

It is interesting that another godly woman in her 60s has shared a vision for what God has in mind for you. I agree. I believe God has great plans for you, Peter, but He will have some preparation work to do in you first. There is one thing about prophecies; we tend to expect them to happen almost immediately, and forget that we have to make a journey to that far mountain-peak experience.

Developing our character is more important to God than the deeds we do. It takes a strong, daily devotional life.

About the opportunity to teach in Burundi, it is a noble gesture to want to save those people the expense of your return home tickets. It is not a wise business decision, but I would say, turn it over to the Lord, and ask Him if He would cover that ticket. Search His Word for a promise to claim. Pray to make sure your spirit hears it as intended for you. Then leave it in His and wait to see what He will do.

He delights in surprising us with new and original ways to meet our needs. God is good at prompting others to send us money out of the blue and with perfect timing. But He will allow delays to test your faith and confidence in Him until it no longer worries you.

I am praying too, and waiting on the Lord for provisions and guidance.

I am not on missionary status any more, but I still live by this principle. I try to be careful what I say about my needs, so others will not feel they are obligated to step in and help me out.

It is wonderful when someone says, “God has impressed on me to give you this.” But this is a rarefied level of faith to live at. Those saints are few and far between who really trust only God. Ah, but how much more we LOVE GOD when He meets our needs! And He is so creative about the methods He uses!

Again, it depends on the relationship you have or want with the Lord.

Blessings & Prayers,
Ruth

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Give Enthusiastically

If you are eager to help others and to give generously, let your enthusiasm to give show!

“Can you show me how to give enthusiastically?” (I hear your spirit asking).

I can try. As long as you are sincere in wanting to know, there is a chance I can do it.

Bitgold will give you income so that you can give enthusiastically

First, let’s pin down a Bible verse that talks of this; “For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action.” (2 Corinthians 9:2. NIV) That was the apostle Paul highly commending the Corinthian believers for giving enthusiastically to help out the needy in another part of the world.

Generally we have become accustomed to pessimism from the constant stream of doom and gloom on the news. Our society thinks anyone that is optimistic and enthusiastic must be off-balance mentally. Not true! Society has it backwards and is unhealthy. God wants us to let our enthusiasm show! He also commends those who are enthusiastic – especially in giving and sharing with others.

Why? Because it inspires others and leads us all to victory and many better things. So let’s learn how to give enthusiastically too.

If you are in a room, or crowd, where there are lots of people, and suddenly someone someone jumps up, loud and self-confident and starts shouting a message, or orders – what do people do? Many of them follow that leader. People are like sheep. If someone breaks ranks and jumps the fence, most of the others will follow. Even if it is to start a riot.

If you become open and enthusiastic about your giving to some needy cause, the same thing will happen. Others will ‘catch’ your enthusiasm and follow your example. (Do you catch on? This is your cue for being a trendsetter).

[Read the complete article here: How to Give Enthusiastically].