Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Steps of Faith: Megan

Happy Wednesday! Today's post comes from Megan. I met Megan through a small group Bible study I participated in a year or so ago. Now we attend the same church and Growth Group. I am so encouraged by Megan because of the very thing she chose to write about today!

Hi! I'm Megan and I blog over at Make It Count. I'd love to have you visit me over there to learn more about me and see some of the things I post about.

I had a lot of trouble deciding what I wanted to write about for this series. I feel like as Christians we take a lot of steps of faith. Some are big while others are small. I could write about moving to NC (10 hours away from home) right after marriage, trying to find jobs multiple times (I've had 2 jobs since we've lived here, my husband has had 3), trying to start a family, choosing to pursue adoption, starting Ornaments for Adoption, handling my husband's chronic illness (10 hours away from family), or fighting discontentment when I'm not where I'd expected to be at this point in my life. Well, I'm not going to write about any of those things today, but I linked various related posts that I have written if you'd like to read more on those topics.

Instead, I want to write about what has most recently been on my heart-giving. Giving is one of my spiritual gifts and it actually comes pretty easy to me. I really enjoy giving money or donating items to help other people. We have some things that we give to on a regular basis like sponsoring 2 children through Compassion, helping support a missionary, and making monthly donations to Mercy for America's Children. We also give randomly to other organizations and things that are laid on our hearts. God has richly blessed us considering all of the things we've been through and I am so happy that we are able to help others.

However, I recently have felt convicted about the fact that I'm not giving sacrificially or giving until it hurts. The things I'm giving my money to aren't really costing me anything. We still are able to buy everything we need and a lot of what we want. I also am not always so willing to give of my time. I'm very selfish with my time.

I am like the rich people in Luke 21:1-4 and Mark 12:41-44. I give out of my abundance. I should strive to be like the widow who gave all that she had. This requires stepping out in faith and I'm not quite sure what this will look like in my life at this moment.

If you've ever been out of the country (or even to certain parts of our own country), your eyes have been opened to just how truly blessed we are. Just to have a safe place to live, food, and clean water is more than many people in the world. When I went on a mission trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, it struck me how much excess I have by the simple fact that I bought a cheap air mattress and some tshirts from the Goodwill for the trip. Then, I didn't even bat an eye to leave that stuff there in Mexico rather than bring it back with me. I know it helped out the center where we stayed, but it didn't even phase me to leave behind these things I'd spent money on.

I don't want all my giving to be that "easy." I want to find ways to give that are hard, ways that I don't want to give but do anyway out of obedience. At this point, I'm not sure what steps I'm going to have to take. I'm still in the process of praying through all of this and figuring it out.

I want to leave you first with 3 books that significantly changed the way I see the world and I would highly recommend them if you haven't already read them. The first is Radical by David Platt. I know this book was very popular for a while and everybody was reading it. There's a reason for that and if you weren't one of those people, get your hands on a copy and read it. The next is Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. I think this book impacted me so much because this girl is my age and she gave up everything to move to Africa and be a missionary. I share more thoughts on this great book over on my blog. The last book I'd recommend is 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I didn't even read this with the intention to do my own experiment, but it changed the way I look at all the excess in my life.

Lastly, I want to leave you with some of my favorite verses that inspire me to give and help others.

"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pit on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." -1 John 3:17-18

"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." -James 2:14-17

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." -Proverbs 31:20

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." -Proverbs 31:8-9

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