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 fed 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.
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