When God lays a vision on our hearts, one of the dumbest things we can say in response is, “We can’t afford that.” Or how about this one: “That’s not in our budget.” That morbid rejoinder is responsible for the deaths of uncounted big stories.
When God births a vision within you, you already can’t afford it. But here’s the adrenaline part – when a kingdom project needs funds God doesn’t generally write checks to the project; rather, He gives gifts to His people. With that in mind, when you are convinced God is calling you and/or your church to step out and do something aggressively missional but scary, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Can God afford this?”
A vision we could readily afford would likely not be one that would bring Him the greatest glory. But when we allow Him to push us out beyond our depth that is when we learn to trust Him. And when He provides, He is honored. As my friend, Mark Batterson, likes to say, “God honors big prayers because big prayers honor God.”
If you follow this blog you know I’m not making a case for irresponsible leadership. More than once a presumptuous decision has brought embarrassment to the kingdom. My appeal, rather, is that courageous, faith-driven obedience become the conditioned response when God says, “This way. Now!”
It occurs to me that in today’s raucous climate God is somehow not satisfied when the leaders of His church convene on padded chairs around a gloriously polished wood table and read reports to each other. Outside, the traffic passes. They are lost; we are comfortable. It seems to me that might arouse a certain sense of impatience in Him. I sense He is eager to visit that impotent setting as he did Paul’s jail and shake the walls a bit. At least there was a conversion.
So, if Jesus chaired your Board meeting, what might the agenda look like? Incremental numbers above last year’s? I don’t think so and you don’t either. So let me propose an exercise: Spend the first thirty minutes of your next Board meeting asking each member to write down the three items they think Jesus would include on His agenda. Then pray your way through the list. Come up with the three items you’re most certain about. Then ask Him how He’d like to fund them. You probably won’t be able to afford that vision. He can.
By Don Jacobsen