She wasn’t happy.
Someone on a “Christian” television program had told her that if she gave $72 she’d receive a breakthrough in 72 hours.
Of course, there was no breakthrough in 72 hours, and she wasn’t happy. So she emailed me.
See, some people on Christian television will tell you that you can give and everything will be taken care of. And, yes, giving is vital, and sowing and reaping is a key principle in the Kingdom of God, but we have to do a better job of how we explain it. Because giving itself is a formula.
The Bible tells us that you can give away everything that you have, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have faith.
Now, I’ve seen God do some amazing things in finances, but the risk for someone that doesn’t understand is that they will try to copy the formula thinking that things will happen exactly the same way for them.
But the power isn’t in the formula.
The formula is like a power line. You can drive down the street and see power lines and know that all of the houses on that street are lit up because of those power lines. But the power lines are just the conduit. They carry the power. If those power lines aren’t hooked up to the power source, then the houses won’t be lit.
You have to be connected to the power source for the formula to work for you.
Like a radio that isn’t tuned into the right frequency, you can function perfectly but not be tuned in properly.
It even happened to the disciples.
Take a look at Mark 6:45-52. Jesus had just got done feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Then He sent His disciples ahead of Him in a boat and He went off to pray. Later that night they saw something on the water—it was Jesus.
And they were afraid! Here they had lived with the guy and they were afraid!
We can say we would have reacted differently, but we wouldn’t have. Because most people posture themselves to receive from the familiar. Just like the disciples, you probably would’ve thought Jesus would be behind you in a boat, not out walking on the water.
That’s how we are with new ideas.
If you’re in construction, you believe for more construction jobs. If you’re a waiter, you believe for more tips. You dismiss ideas that are outside of your comfort zone.
You might think, It’s too big for me, or I don’t have any experience with that, and you set the idea aside. Thoughts are whirling past you, but you tell yourself, It’s not my field.
You’ve trained yourself to look for Jesus coming in the boat.
But Jesus said three very important things that night from where He stood on the water. He said, “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
- Take courage.
Because any new assignment will be a bigger area of responsibility, and you’ll be tempted to be afraid of that. You can’t look at the work involved in taking that on. If you’re truly anticipating increase, you’ll think different thoughts and embrace opportunity. You have to have the courage for increase.
- It is I.
New ideas aren’t always going to make sense to you. It’s not important that they make sense to you. The voice of God can be easy to miss. He works with our passions and our makeup. He works with things we don’t even know about ourselves. Those ideas are always going to be bigger than you are because they’re God ideas. You just need to pay attention and write it all down. It just takes one idea to completely change your life.
- Don’t be afraid.
Do something God thinks you can do, not something you think you can do. With God all things are possible, and He’s going to strengthen you. If He gives you an idea, He must think you can do it with His help. After all, you were marked for success. You’ve got to train yourself to be open to new, unusual, and weird ideas. Don’t miss the direction and the timing.
Understand how the process operates. In Genesis 15, you’ll see the story of Abraham. Early in the chapter, you see he believed God, but that wasn’t all there was to the process.
Abraham received the promise, but he had to do something. He had to act on his faith. He had to RAISE Isaac.
See, the promise itself is different than the maturity of the promise. We miss ideas because we’re looking for the results. When God gave Isaac to Abraham, He didn’t see Isaac as a baby; God saw Isaac as a mature man on the top of the mountain.
But too many people today want instant fixes. They want maturity right away. They look at the “baby” of an idea and think it’s puny. They can’t get their eyes off of the results.
But someone has to raise Isaac. Someone has to change diapers. Someone has to see the baby through to maturity.
And just like that, there is a process to raising your dreams. Sometimes it’s messy and smelly, but you have to raise the idea. You’ve got to pay the price to get to maturity. You have a part to play.
Don’t get discouraged. God is interested in the beginning and the end, as well as in the journey in-between. Stick with it. See the ideas through to maturity.
Take courage. It is Him. Don’t be afraid.