“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
What on earth is the meaning of this verse? I’m sure we have all heard it used in a sermon illustration (probably out of context) regarding giving money. Pastor John Clark at Converse Church of Christ completed a powerful series in May about the offerings we give to God (not just monetary). He mentioned that this verse can be a wrong motive for the ways to bless with money. Might I take this verse and probe through it further? What is our greatest resource here on earth? I am not talking about water, electricity or any of those. I am talking about as believers what has Christ given us that we can use?
Think about it….
Is it love?
Is it life?
When I think about these two answers…and the context of the scripture, it perturbs me that we almost always use it in the context of money. Paper….that we decide the value of. I think it’s more powerful than that. Friends. God ordained our lives. He has given us an incredible value that we can’t take away. It’s easier to say the scripture is about money, because then we can be in distanced control. What about the powerful love in our lives? It’s time to surrender.
I’m almost there. Don’t give up on me yet…sit tight.
As I was reading the above scripture I was able to personalize it into a prayer to God. I challenge you to try it:
“God, I give you my life, knowing you will restore my life with a good measure. My life will be overflowing from me, when pressed down and shaken together it will pour onto my lap and the lives of those around me. God, I know, the measure to which I judge others on their lives, you will use on me. Let the value of my life be my measuring rod…let hope be my ruler. ”
There is a reason I wrote about that verse. Our family just had an amazing weekend of reunion, celebration and ultimately a good “pouring into”. It affirmed to me that our lives are worthless if we are living out of ourselves and encouraged me over and over that Bart, Lucas, Hosanna and I are following God faithfully in the right direction.
On Friday we drove down to Somerset, Kentucky to celebrate the marriage of one of our amazing college friends Bethany Taylor Dills (York) to a really cool guy named Dan York. We missed the wedding but had a wonderful time with the kids visiting with close friends at the reception. Congratulations Dan & Beth!!
Friday night we stayed at Randy and Stephanie Penwell’s home in Byrdstown, Tennessee. They are our Tennessee parents. Their daughter, Hadassah Penwell (Andi’s Best Friend) is in Zimbabwe, Africa with Eden Children’s village and we were able to Skype with her during the wedding reception. Randy and Stephanie loved on us with words of encouragement, a delicious breakfast, a slow pace, a play ground and puke clean-up (Hosanna got the flu). They poured their “runneth over” into our lives. They let us be who we are…crazy missionaries…close friends…parents…children…and just spent the day encouraging us.
Saturday afternoon we travelled to Owensboro, Kentucky with two very sleepy and happy kids. We rolled into the driveway of the Litsey home at about 7:30. We have known of each other for many years, but as of PMI training last year in Dallas, we became family. James and Lisa Litsey spent 3 years in West Africa, in the town we will be living. They have “given us” their house to rent from a national (just as they did).
We were greeted by Lisa (Mom), Will, Jack, and Sento Litsey. James came home a few hours later, he was in Spain all of last week. We stayed until Monday, and the entire time we were blessed. Fatu, Laura and Sennah were gone to work for part of the time, but Lucas and Hosanna had an amazing time being silly with each of the Litsey gang. Lisa and I were able to sit down for a while and discuss the challenges and blessings of being in West Africa. She told me how to keep water hot all day for tea and where I can buy eggs and get my skirts sewn. Will and Jack warned us about the different types of ants and spiders, and encouraged me with stories of how well the kids will do with language learning. Bart sat at James’s feet and soaked up every ounce of advice for ministering to this people group. By the end of the weekend we were making plans for a time that we could meet again and soak up more of their ministry knowledge about the place that we will call home for the next 15 years.
Amazingly, God puts people in our paths all the time that truly change our worlds. During the weekend we met several people who are eager about financially jumping on board with us and changing lives of the people in West Africa. We are still at just under 24%. We get many onetime gifts from month to month and that radically helps us make ends meet. To be the most effective we can be, PBT will not let us go to French language school unless we are at 90% funded to our annual board approved budget. Our yearly budget right now is $53,000 and will cover the costs for things such as travel to France, vaccines, health insurance (which at this point we are unable to afford), gas for support raising travel, groceries, internet etc. The biggest part of this year’s budget is coming up fast as we are planning on leaving for France in October and have yet to purchase our travel fare.
We so desire to be in France now, learning the trade language of West Africa so that we can get over there and tell them about Jesus. They don’t know!!! Some of them have never heard the story of Christ’s salvation. Some of them have never seen God’s word or had the chance to come to salvation. We need you now friends!!! Come on board and help us get there! We have one more week of classes and then we are in full fledged support mode!! Contact us if you know of a church that we could present to, or if you would like to set up a meeting with us to hear about our calling!