Super Stretch

In 2012, I had made a pledge to our church’s building project.  I finished the pledge in 2014 but even after that, I was moved to pledge anew.  I had known that in order to fulfill this new pledge, I would need to cut back on certain expenses…and yes, it was a very big budget cut on certain items.  There was a time I felt like being tightfisted towards God but the encouragement had always been this faith that God would provide just as He always had, exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine.

So I entered 2015 trusting that I could not ever outgive God.  By the time our midyear bonus was approaching and while a lot of colleagues had been wondering whether there would additional bonus due to the past year’s company performance, I had the quiet confidence that, indeed, there would be additional bonuses because I held on to this:  If you build the Lord’s house, He will also build yours (paraphrase of Haggai 1:9).

 

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And so, on the day of the announcement, God once again proved Himself faithful to His promises because we did not just receive an additional month but two more months to our usual bonus payout….called a super stretch in our company.  Aptly so, I thought, since it was a period when God also super stretched my faith…asking me to give, to bless others, on both times in amounts I did not ever imagine giving.  But today, I am reminded of an evangelist’s word:  God does not need your tip.  I believe that while I continue to strive for excellence at work, God is also teaching me excellence in giving regardless of my circumstances:

2 Corinthians 8:7  New International Version
But since you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you –see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:2  New International Version
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.

 

I remember my small group leader’s words: when you are generous, you are creating a platform for God to bless you.

So I pray that I will continue to learn to excel in this grace of giving…and really, for me to be given grace to do so because without it, my tendency is just to spend it according to how I see fit, and to obey joyfully when God calls me to give because if I seek His kingdom first and His righteousness by doing His will, all these things shall be added unto me.  And this grace I pray for others who seek it also.

Happy Monday, everyone!  Aren’t you glad for the start of a new working week – a week to experience God’s grace so we can excel at work?

Seasons

At some point, you learn
That words are woven into stories,
Stories into lies,
And lies can make up a life;
That lies can make up a man;
That duplicity is contagious
As bad company corrupts good character.

At some point, you learn
That a coloured face can be a façade
And beneath is a can of worms
Feeding on nicks and cuts,
Picking on fresh, bloodied wounds
That will heal or won’t heal-
Only time can tell.

At some point, you learn
That a smile is just a mask;
That a hollow smile belies
The tempest in the heart –
Of rage, madness, and love,
Choosing different shades of grey
Over blacks and whites.

At some point, you learn
That an enemy multiplies kisses
But a friend’s wounds can be trusted;
That you hurt those you love,
And you’re hurt by those you love,
But you love anyway
Because you were loved first.

Love overcomes,
Looks beyond,
Overlooks the façade, the worms,
And heals.

And that Love is neither grey
Nor black nor white
But is red, scarlet
And turns your scars
As white as the snow
And makes you a new creation.

At some point, you meet Someone
Who sweeps you off your feet,
Promises you eternity,
And leaves a permanent mark on your soul.
Say “yes” and you are changed.
Forever.