One of the things I struggled with as I prayed through the idea of leaving the pastorate to enter a new ministry was the reality that I was going to be very dependent on the generosity of so many people. At the heart of my struggle was the reality that I was going to have to actually ask people for their financial support. I knew in my heart that necessity was going to take me to a new place – a very uncomfortable, unfamiliar place.

As a pastor, I never had a problem preaching on Christian giving and generosity because the Scripture is so clear about this spiritual discipline and just as clear in its teaching on generosity in giving. The work of the church, missions, evangelism, benevolence, and so many other Kingdom causes demand the sacrificial giving of God’s people through the church. I was also ready to get the church behind individuals who were in ministries and mission work not directly funded by large church or mission organizations. But when I found myself on the other end – the asking and receiving end – it was a whole new experience. It took some coaching and encouragement from others to convince me that this was a perfectly legitimate biblical method of funding ministry. I believed that totally, but struggled to embrace it personally.

For so long I had felt fairly self-reliant and self-sufficient. My financial needs and benefits were always taken care of in the church budget. I never had to ask for anything. It was always provided. What I came to realize is that I was struggling with pride and a false sense of self-reliance. This was a lesson in humility that complimented my lesson on trust. I can tell you that it’s humbling to ask your friends and family for financial support, especially at my age! It’s not only humbling to ask and receive, it’s also humbling to ask and not receive. It’s humbling when a supporter you know has very little to spare gives what you know is a sacrifice. It’s a lesson in humility when others, perhaps with greater resources, do not feel ┬áled to give anything.

It is more clear to me than ever before that we are never really self-reliant. We deceive ourselves if we think we are self-sufficient. The truth is I’ve never been self-reliant at all. I’ve always been dependent on the Lord for everything, even when I thought I was taking care of myself. This period of transition has taught me this much needed lesson in humility: Work ethic, ability, calling, and obedience notwithstanding, I’m still dependent on the Heavenly Father for everything I need in life and ministry, and he is far more able to provide what I need than I am. So I’ve come to realize that one form of humility is recognizing his total sufficiency and my total dependency.

Humility is essentially connected to grace. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

One Response to “Lessons Learned in Transition (So Far!) – Humility”

  1. Gwendy Stall said

    Love that last paragraph. It is a lesson the Lord continues to teach and reteach me. I have often said to Steve, “we deceive ourselves” when we have been coasting along in a comfortable place because we happen to like what God is doing in our lives at the moment. The truth is God is our only sufficiency always. And He is always enough. Enjoying your blog. In Christ, Gwendy

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