Let’s Talk Money

Written By Kristen Oliver

Well…It has been a while since I have sat down to write a post. Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you all, I just have been in a period of waiting till God lead me to something I should write about. I have had lots of little thoughts and ideas, but none that seemed right. Nonetheless, I was thrilled when Mike wanted to write a guest post at the beginning of this year, A New Year’s Resolution We Should Keep, because I had nothing! It’s like getting a substitute when you don’t feel like going to work, it brings a big sigh of relief!

I heard something on the radio about January recently. Essentially it was apologizing for always making January a month full of diets and failed resolutions. That January has no identity on its own; it’s just the month in between the Christmas and Valentine’s day. But I have always loved January for that very reason. It’s a normal month, it allows you to get back into the flow and routine of everyday life, and hopefully allows for personal improvements to be incorporated as well. Well this January is a little different for me and my family. If you read my previous blog, He’s in the Waiting, you know that we have been in transition most of 2017. Although it was a rough and emotional year in many aspects, it was also a year of great growth, personally and spiritually.

January 14th, 2018, we were introduced at Zephyrhills Wesleyan, where we will be continuing our ministry. I believe that God placed everything in motion in order for us to be able to accept this position in his time and not our time. Let me give you a little insight into what I mean. In November 2016 (yes way back to the year 2016), I left my full time teaching job because I knew it wasn’t what God wanted for me anymore. I knew it deep down in my bones, but explaining this to my husband and friends and family was a different situation. Because I didn’t have hard facts or a back-up plan to provide that made sense. It actually didn’t make any logical sense. If I left my teaching job we wouldn’t be able to afford our bills (on paper that is). Even with my teaching job it barely covered our expenses. But after discussing with Mike and Pastor Phil, we decided it was the best decision for this season of our life. I wasn’t even sure why, other than I was miserable at work, missed my kids and wanted to be more available to my friends and family. For me, that was enough and I knew it was right. The hard part was making other people understand my decision. I have come to realize something though…. we shouldn’t live our life to please other people, but only to please God.

A week later we had an interview for Mike’s upcoming ordination, so I figured I was simply there for support. However, during the interview I was asked about my teaching job and I told them that I had just left. Then they asked when I knew I was called into ministry and when I wanted to start pursuing it? I responded with a bit of surprise, because I thought it was evident that I was in ministry. I mean I was married to a pastor! I knew I had a calling to be a mother and bring my children up to love and glorify God in our home. I felt a strong passion for mentoring young girls and women, something that fell on that back burner when I was working full time, (any available time I had I was spending it with my kids and husband, and countless other hours planning). Their question got me thinking…

What else could I be doing?

How can I allow God to use me in a different way?

November of 2016, after the ordination interview, we met with a pastor friend and were sharing our hearts and how we felt it necessary for me to leave full time teaching. He asked us two questions. One was about our finances. After we discussed what our finances looked like, he said very bluntly, you need to become debt free. To us that was impossible, did he not just here that I’m leaving my job and we can barely afford our bills with me working? How do you expect us to pay off our debt too?? Then he asked me the same question they did in the interview, “When are you going to realize your call into ministry?” This annoyed me! I continued to tell him what I have been doing…Right then I realized that I listed all the things I had been doing in my own power.

Being in ministry is allowing God to work through you, to do things not possible by human might, or analytical thinking, in order to grow the kingdom of God.

(WOW! That’s a mouthful, and definitely not for me, that’s for a pastor, my husband, not me). Even though I felt completely unqualified to do anything great, I continued to pray and ask God; What else could I be doing? How can I allow God to use me in a different way? I wonder if you need to ask yourself these same questions….???

Anyways, 2 months after leaving my teaching job, we sold our house. This allowed us to become debt free. We paid for our “rent” 2 years in advance, paid off our car and had some left over for a savings account. (How we bought this house in the first place is a whole other God story!!)

I am not telling you this to brag or boast about our situation at all, but simply to say that,

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” –Matthew 19:26

In Matthew Jesus speaks with a rich young man. The rich young man asks, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus responds by telling him to keep the commandments, and the rich man replies, “All of these I have kept.” Jesus then says, “If you want to be perfect, then you must sell all your possessions and give to the poor. When the young man heard this, he went away sad because he had great wealth” (vs. 21-22).

This passage is not saying that all believers should sell everything they own. However, we should be willing to give up anything if God asks us to do so. This kind of attitude allows nothing to come between us and God and keeps us from using our God-given wealth selfishly.

If you are relieved by the fact the Christ did not ask his followers to sell all their possessions, then you may be too attached to what you have (vs. 21).

This passage in the Bible reminds us of two things:

Loving God totally means using our money in ways that please him (vs. 22).

Obedience and immediate reward are not always linked. As believers, our true reward is God’s presence and power through the Holy Spirit (vs. 27).

Ok friends are you with me? Let’s not forfeit eternal rewards for temporary benefits. Be willing to make sacrifices now for greater rewards later. Be willing to accept human disapproval, while knowing that you have God’s approval.

Jesus states, “And everyone that left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life (vs. 29).” In this passage, he is assuring the disciples that anyone who gives up something valuable for his sake will be repaid many times over in this life, although not necessarily in the same form.

What is it that God is calling you to do with your finances?Start praying about what you feel him prompting you to do/change in your life regarding your finances.And then….Take action!!

I promise you God wants to do something radical in your life if you can trust him with your finances. Do you have an example of how God has used your finances in an amazing way for his good? Comment below. I would love to celebrate with you, pray with you, or encourage you through this journey!

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