“I wish I could be more like you.” My friend’s comment took me off guard.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re so…good. You do all this stuff for others. You are constantly giving your time and effort. I just wish I was more like you.”
The work I was currently doing was made possible because she donated the funds.
“I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t have people like you supporting the efforts financially. We all serve in the way we are gifted. Never try to be like someone else. Some give of their time, some give of their skill set, some give financially, but God uses it all together to further His kingdom. We bring what we have to the table and it all matters.”
We had that conversation almost 10 years ago, but it came flooding back when
I read Luke 8 the other day.
I don’t know how many times I’ve read the gospels, but recently I’ve been taking my time with them and really digging in. Chapter by chapter. Asking questions, reading commentaries, noticing things I’ve never noticed before, like the first three verses of Chapter 8.
“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
Have you ever wondered how Jesus and His disciples covered their expenses? They had some money. Peter talks about not having enough to buy food for the crowds and in John 12:6 we read this about Judas: “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”
Perhaps people gave them money in gratitude for healing the sick. Perhaps the disciples had some savings they brought with them. Neither of those things are mentioned, so that is pure conjecture.
But Luke 8:3 tells us clearly where at least part of the funding came from. The women in the group were helping to support them out of their own means.
Let that settle in a second.
In a culture where women had little if anything to call their own and were basically second class citizens with very few rights, they were actually the financial support system for Jesus and His disciples! We already knew Jesus was radical in his time and culture by the wonderful ways He interacted with women. But this?
What an important part they played in His ministry! Jesus and His disciples did not have to earn as they went from town to town. They did not have to split their time between the effort of finding support and teaching. They could be fully dedicated to their calling, out healing the sick, feeding throngs of people, and most importantly, spreading the Good News of God’s love to the multitudes, because these women were obedient to feed and support just 13 men.
When you’re afraid what you are doing for the kingdom isn’t big enough, or good enough, or important enough, think again. God uses the unlikely, the improbable, the weak, and the unseen to accomplish His purposes. Each of us can impact our sphere of influence for God. Some will do it in big ways and some in small. Some will be in front of the crowds and some will be behind the scenes. Never compare yourself to another. His purpose for you may not be to reach the many, but rather, to support the few.
God can and will use a willing heart to go and open hands to send.