In the current panic of today’s world, stockpiling seems to be an acceptable (or expected) practice in the face of pandemic. Toilet paper, bottled water and hand sanitizer seem to have become the apocalyptic earth’s commodities of trade, bought by the load at the hands of the few and fearful to last them till kingdom come. Several others have bought pallets full of these items in order to resell at gouging prices, stealing from their fellow humans to make a fortune in hard times.
Whatever happened to: “love your neighbor as yourself,” “treat others as you would like to be treated,” and especially, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves”? (Mark 12:31, Luke 6:31, Philippians 2:3)
I wanted to offer encouragement to our readers during this time of mass panic, 24/7 media reporting, curfews, and quarantines. I want to share with you that as worrisome as the world is right now, what our family has experienced for the last 20 months can shed some light on the way things can be.
Three years ago, our lives changed radically as we began following God into the unknown. He led us to take the first step: set up a ministry that would serve others anytime and anywhere, helping a variety of those in need. During the setup phase, we’ve reached countless folks, adults and kids alike, across the state of Idaho and across our nation. This ministry is by no means fully set up, nor is that truly our goal - our objective is to serve. And we certainly have. We have served those who appreciate our efforts, and those who don’t. We have given funds where they were needed, sometimes without the recipient ever knowing we gave. We have struggled with little while sharing what little we had.
See, this ministry is not ours, it is God’s, through and through. By following God’s direction in our own lives, our lives merged with this ministry. We live to serve God first, and serving others just comes naturally in the wake of serving our God.
For the last three years, we have learned to trust this God we serve, and not just in a way that sounds good - it’s true! Those who have heard our story can attest to it - we actually live day to day, standing on the promises God has made, and waiting for Him to provide for us. We have had moments of plenty and moments of lack. We no longer take things into our own hands to force an outcome we desire - we wait on His timing, patiently and flexibly, not only because this is wise, but because this is His desire for us - to be patient and flexible as we wait on Him. For the last 20 months I have collected no paycheck from any employer. God has provided for our needs, above and beyond anything we could have accomplished. Sometimes the provision came at the 11th hour, and sometimes it came in advance - and yet it always came. This life has become a rollercoaster, but we have never, and I mean NEVER, been left high and dry.
We’ve lived completely paycheck-less for almost 2 years. I’ll let that sink in.
Here’s how it went down: in the summer of 2018, myself, my wife, our 4 kids and 2 dogs embarked on a journey to the East Coast… and days before we left town, I quit my job. Now this wasn’t just a “job,” it was my dream career - I had been a helicopter pilot for 16 years, and an EMS pilot for over a decade. And yet - I had finally come to the point where I realized that God wanted me to follow Him beyond everything else. I realized that everything I thought was mine was really His - and I began living like it. I literally surrendered all I had to Him - my past, my present, my future and even my very life - to direct and orchestrate as He sees fit.
I read about all the people whose stories God tells in the Bible, and how each and every one at some point chose to do their own thing and take things into their own hands - and it was my heart’s desire to never do that to Him. So, in presenting all that I am to Him as an offering, I made only one request of Him: I begged Him to never let me fail Him.
It’s difficult to stand my ground and trust someone else to make decisions for my life. When I let go, I’d been trusting myself to orchestrate my life for 39 years - and I had nothing to show for it. I recognized that all the good and beautiful and worthwhile things in my life had not been orchestrated by me - they had been lovingly and thoughtfully planned and executed by the only One worthy of having that power - my Creator.
It is within this realization that everything began falling into place in my mind - if He has planned and executed all these orchestrations, and if I have truly accomplished nothing on my own, why should I continue to try and meet the bar that He has already met? I have absolutely no desire to compete with the One who has already won the competition - but I do want Him to direct my every move and decision in this life. I want to serve Him with everything I am and copy His excellence so that I represent Him accurately and responsibly to those who meet me.
As a human, God pleaded with us to see His provision throughout history - and to return those blessings back to His hands for His uses and increase. When we hold our hands open, we both offer back to Him what He has given AND we are able to accept the increase He blesses us with. Open hands = open hearts. Here’s what He said:
“Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and yourself.
“Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you — you of little faith?
“The Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:19-30, 32-34
If we follow these words, we will never have a need to be in fear because we will only live for today. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need to plan ahead to pay bills or other expenses, but we definitely need to let go more and let God take control more. When we live every day waiting for God to “give us our daily bread,” we allow God to provide our needs the way He wants to. And when we lose a job, or encounter a hiccup in our plans, or face a pandemic viral outbreak, we can have confidence because we have already given God complete control over our lives.
God has promised to provide for our daily needs; what we need right now, today, but He never promised to give us a stockpile of things we would need in the future. No food, financial security, entertainment or relationship can give us a complete sense of meaning and purpose like He will. He created life to be enjoyed… and He is the life He created us to enjoy.
The American way of life has become accustomed to shopping in bulk, having the opportunity to stockpile and plan and pack away weeks and months of food at a time. We create our own food security. The average American lives on the concept of the American dream: get a good job, house, family, cars, savings, work till 65, retirement, play after retirement.
And yet… the life that God spoke of calls His followers to always live ministering to others: always working, always serving, and always following His example, but we’ve taken for granted what it truly means to live day by day. We spend most of our time pursing our individual happinesses without regard for or interest in anyone else.
When we make plans and they don’t happen the way we expect, don’t we usually spin out of control and say, “God doesn’t love me! Why would He do this to me? How is a loving God for me if my plans don’t happen and my expectations aren’t met?” Our fear sets in and we cease to move forward unless God makes our steps easy… or things work out beautifully. For most of my life this was my own mindset - everyone around me lived this way, even the ones who knew better.
We’ve been lied to, my brothers and sisters! We’ve been deceived by a slow lie that tells us what we want to hear, deep down, that it’s all about us. Even when it comes down to the choice between serving ourselves or another, we’d rather take care of ourselves and let everyone else fend for themselves. And yet, God made it clear through the words of Jesus the Messiah that all the laws He had ever established boiled down to just 2 things: “Love God with your whole being” and “Love each another.”
Whether it’s our own business or someone else’s, a ministry, friendship, parenting or work, all Christians should be ministering to others, regardless of our career or occupation. We should be living out the phrase “Lord, give us our daily bread.” We should live expecting God to daily supply us our needs, not our greeds.
And when God gives us anything above and beyond our daily needs, God calls it an abundance. According to Paul, all abundance should be used to bring glory to God by helping believers who are in need, who have less than “enough.” (See 2 Corinthians 8:14-15) God is providing all that is needed but sometimes He entrusts it to us to provide for each other. He has tasked His followers to be NEED-FINDERS and NEED-FILLERS, not abundance hoarders. Every move and gift and pursuit should be in line with His direction and wishes because everything is His.
Since embarking on this incredible adventure, we’ve shared our story with those we’ve met, and it’s been interesting to realize that most of those who shared our excitement and found joy in our story were not people who claimed to know God or love Him. Those who did claim to know, love and follow God were most often those who responded with glazed-over eyes and heard nothing we said or refused to let us share our story with them. Even ministries and pastors we contacted have still not returned our calls or emails to this day - and we have not asked for money, but we have contacted them to share our story, encourage others in their faith, and to ask for prayer support and ministry advice.
The few individuals and ministries that have listened to our story open-heartedly have been blessed with ignited passion for the God who lives in and through us, and they are living changed lives! In contrast, we have also encountered much opposition from average church-going individuals and those currently in ministry, even so far as to hear that our lifestyle of serving others and being funded by God is foolish and sinful, and that we should be taking our provision into our own hands. Isn’t “taking it into our own hands” is the exact opposite of completely trusting God’s direction when He’s told us to wait on Him?
Sadly, patience is not a treasured virtue - some Christians insist that God will prove His authorship and endorsement by lining everything up beautifully first… but God has never worked in this way. His ways are messy. He even takes messes and makes them beautiful and useful, but they still remain outside the scope of “organized” or “lined up.” A few examples: Paul, Peter, Abraham, David, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, Adam & Eve, not to mention the entire nation of Israel. Every story you read in the Bible is a mess and continues to be messy after God steps in. All humans keep messing things up… and God just keeps being Himself, extremely flexible and patient with us.
In the end, this not a fight between us and God, it’s a fight between God and His enemies. We’re just the prize to be won… and many of us are stockpiled in the enemy’s camp.
Our ministry and family have been in much prayer for each and every step, waiting patiently and remaining flexible for God to provide. Our family has personally given up everything but the essentials to accomplish what God has called us to do. God doesn’t call everyone to live like this, but He has called us. And what an impact our testimony has made in the lives of countless others. God calls us to live this kind of trust, regardless of the circumstances He plants us in.
I don’t want my family to contract the virus 🦠 that’s spreading rapidly. We will comply with local and federal government instructions and be wise, but we will also wait on God and trust Him to continue providing for our needs, especially when those who could help support us aren’t helping support us.
Amazingly, it is much easier to live only one day at a time. It takes a lot of determination to stick with this mindset because human nature is to keep wanting to take back full control from God. I still struggle with this even today as I type this blog post. And once God provides the necessary equipment needed, we will also have a vlog and a podcast. We want to be fully open and transparent with all our readers, able to answer your questions at any point in time. We want everyone to see that God truly keeps His promises to take care of those who love Him.
Do you live this way? Is this a new concept to you? Does this mentality surprise you? Do you personally strive to live trusting God for every need? Are there areas in your life that you find difficult to entrust to God? Do you face opposition in following God? We’d love to hear your story.
If you have questions about our experience, need encouragement, are unsure of how to begin or continue trusting God in this way, or for any other reason, please contact us. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Over and above everything else, the most important thing to stockpile, now and forever, is TRUST IN GOD. After that, love, forgiveness, and generosity are the next most important.
God loves you and is for you. Don’t forget that.
Let me end with a beautiful and timely quote from Billy Graham, just as true today as it was when He said it:
“Habakkuk said, ‘Lord, please tell me what you’re doing,’ and God said, ‘No, I’m not going to tell, you, Habakkuk. Because if I told you what I was doing you wouldn’t believe it.’ If God today told us what He’s doing in the world, we wouldn’t believe it! Do you think God’s given up and God’s abdicated and God’s left the throne? He hasn’t! He’s still on the throne! And those of us that know Him put our trust in Him and Him alone. I don’t put my trust in Washington. I don’t put my trust in the United Nations. I don’t put my trust in myself. I don’t put my trust in money. I put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. When all the rest of it fails and crumbles and shatters, He’ll be there.”