So, I'm listening to our guest speaker for the weekend, Craig Groeschel from LifeChurch, and it's one of those messages where you just know it's gonna be good. Two of his talking points were:
1. Obey Irrationally
2. Give Extravagantly
Apparently there was a third point, but I must have missed it while I was furiously writing down what Holy Spirit was depositing in me. I will be going back to listen to this message again, but I was told by the kids that point #3 is "they (those who obey and give) do what other's believe cannot be done." Glad to know they were paying attention!!! :)
In the midst of the message, Craig delivers a great one-liner: "Don't increase your standard of living. Increase your standard of giving."
ZING! Those words resonated with me immediately and brought back to mind another one-liner I held onto from Francis Chan's Crazy Love: "When it's hard and you are doubtful, give more."
I will not rabbit trail here when I so easily could, I will simply state that God has been carefully depositing wisdom riches into my heart regarding Giving; and it's been a fun 6-month journey (so far) of transformation, bit by small bit.
Back to the present. As soon as those golden nuggets wash across my thoughts, Holy Spirit begins to speak instruction and revelation regarding our recent financial change, and I wrote down what I "heard":
- Our [monthly] salary is decreasing so let's increase our tithe.
- Let's do an offering by giving all of December's provision [back] to God.
- The payroll schedule change is not meant as a detriment to us but as a way to free up money for extravagant giving. Those 3rd paychecks in July and December (2011) are not ours but His, and we are to seek Holy Spirit for guidance in how we are to give them away according to God's plan and purpose. This change is His gift to us. It's not to take [from] us but to take us [to] another level of giving.
Now let me add my thoughts...
- Increasing our monthly tithe percentage makes NO sense at all to the human mind because our monthly salary is going to reduce, not increase, come January. Living on less, we're to give more? Yep. That's what I heard as clear as day. Okay.
- It was comforting to know God had provided a little cushion for December, a month that always seems to be a bit more costly than others. Now we're to give that back to God. Okay.
- As I wrote in the previous blog, I wasn't nervous about the change, I just couldn't put my finger on the purpose of the plan. Well, God didn't waste much time in fleshing that plan out for us. We're being invited to a Higher Place and we must journey with a willing attitude of sacrifice. Okay.
After the message is over, I'm practically bouncing around (inside) waiting to share this revelation with Anthony. What's ironic is that even though I'm speaking words that make zero sense on paper, there's an unmistakable excitement brewing in me--one that defies human logic or intellect.
[I] would never have thought of increasing tithe on reduced income.
[I] would never have thought to give back December's provision.
[I] would never have planned setting aside whole paychecks so they could be used for extravagant giving.
What is so utterly reassuring about all of this is that God's plans leave no room for me to take any credit for any of this. We should be shaking in our boots wondering how this is all going to work out. Instead, we're smiling because we have no idea how all of this is going to work out. There is a peace that passes all human understanding in this. And that is why our only possible answer - and first reaction - is YES!
Obey Irrationally and Give Extravagantly!