I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday. They wouldn’t even notice.
The Vision, Pete Grieg
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
I was asking God, where to stand and wait for me to catch my $200 falling from heaven. I was not anxious but I sensed there was a parable to be understood. All I wanted to know was that if I had not missed the angel’s pitch from heaven, then maybe God was still saying something I was not hearing. Not that I had failed to listen, but it was not until now that God wanted to reveal it.
No doubt, God faithfully provides. I am not starving. I am not sick without provision for medicine. I am not without decent clothes. And if I were to sell my Blackberry, I think I would have enough money for the airfare. Then maybe I can sell my ipod nano in exchange for my international travel tax, and then sell my 2 usb speakers for a bit of pocket money for the trip.
Then of course, there’s next week’s transportation costs. I can handle that if I take 3 jeepney rides and a stroll under the scorching heat instead of the expensive tricycle ride that drops me off right in front of my workplace. And we have a P50 per day meal allowance in the office. I can fast the other meal since I work 11am-9pm and usually have 2 meals at work. (And by the way, this week is all accounted for because I am going to help out in a youth camp. So I’m covered for the entire week! Yipee!)
I haven’t really even come close to what the Apostle Paul experienced: an empty stomach…living on almost nothing. In the words of the founder of 24-7 movement Pete Greig, God’s army “could eat caviar on Monday and crust on Tuesday. They won’t even notice.”
To be very honest with you, I do notice it. I haven’t tried caviar but I do notice the difference between the P40-meal we order from Chef Talk because it hardly touches my stomach. It feels more like an appetizer than a main course. I can survive on this budget but my craving for Coffee Bean’s Moroccan Mint Tea Latte keeps enticing me. Not to mention, it really refreshes my soul and strengthens my spirit when I read my Bible in their cafe! The ambience is just rejuvenating. But it is costly. It is unnecessary. Especially when we are in what the Apostle Paul calls a season of “almost nothing.”
We strain for the next peso and we become nervous at the thought that people might think we’re losers when actually they just don’t understand that sometimes, God’s provision comes right in the nick of time. I mean, not all Christians recognize “walking on water” in its actuality, right? It always sounds better on the Bible or on Powerpoint.
And so I was asking God today and boy was He speaking… “Crust on Tuesday, would you notice? Would you care? Are you willing to take the challenge?”
Well yeah, I did notice it God. And I have to repent that I have forgotten that when I said yes to this mission, I was also saying yes to sacrifice. Yes, I am allowed to ask God for a cup of tea latte. It is not that God doesn’t want to bless us exceedingly, abundantly and more that we could ever think of or imagine! He does! But He also has seasons for our lives.
And I am beginning to understand that despite God’s desire (and ours too) to be financially blessed like Abraham, it is not for us to tell God when NOT TO subject us to a season of “just enough.” I do believe that the season will come when I would be able to give to missions out of a surplus and not out of a gasping budget. (You know that kind wherein you also wonder if you’re going to have enough for yourself if you give it away but then you give it anyway because you know you were meant to give and look rich even though your wallet says otherwise?) I am fighting for it. I am decreeing it to come. I am working for its fulfillment.
But God is teaching me something new. To be a good steward of overflowing finances, we must learn to be a prudent steward of the barely enough purse. And this learning, once again, goes straight back to where all other issues begin: right inside our hearts. Once again, the question is: Are we too concerned about out stomach and our physical comfort or are we as focused and zealous as Paul who was actually saying something like this, “I don’t really care what you feed me God, as long as you keep me strong enough to preach the Gospel. I’m fine with that.”
And that is probably why the famous verse “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” follows this verse on food. Where does our strength really come from? From the fact that God fed us steak? Or from the fact that we know our spiritual stomachs are hungrier for souls, more than our flesh is hungry for the enticements of this world?
I hope this post does not come out as religious. I’m not saying that God wants to starve us. He wants to feed us! And feed us with yummy food, I believe! But… maybe some of us were caught asking God, “I want more of You!” Well, you’ll never know that He’s all you need until He’s all you’ve got.” Having little refocuses us to what is really essential. It puts our hearts on check. And it prepares us to handle the “more” that God wants to give us, sooner or later.
And this, I’m just beginning to learn…