Monday, September 24, 2012

The slippery slope

Right now I'm in a period of trying to raise some additional funds.  We don't need a whole lot more, but it's enough where I can't just hope that a few people will randomly increase and we'll be done.  (Is that ever the case, really?)

Because we don't have a lot to raise, I've generally felt pretty happy about the state of our fundraising.  I made some plans to raise the extra I needed, but I wasn't stressing about it at all.  Everything seemed just fine!

Until about three weeks ago.

In rapid-fire succession, one donor lost her job and dropped $100/mo.  Another donor told us that he felt called to assist a friend going out onto the missions field and is transferring support there.  Another donor had a family crisis and will likely be dropping in the near future.

Suddenly I felt as if I were on a very slippery slope.  What if others also drop?  How much more am I going to have to raise?  Is this the beginning of the end?  Should I polish up my resume?

Sound overly dramatic?  It is.  But it's what goes through my mind whenever that kinda thing happens.

The truth is that I was indeed on a slippery slope, but the slippery slope wasn't that of money.  It was that I was trusting in the money rather than the Lord.  Somewhere along the line I'd gone from depending on Him for every dollar coming in to assuming I had it all under control.  "Thanks for that initial boost, Jesus, but I can take it from here.  You might want to go check out some of those other fundraisers who still need You, though."  I'd never actually say that, but it was how I was acting.  I maybe even fooled myself into thinking that I was still depending on Him, but I wasn't fooling Him.

And so I consider this drop in support as an act of mercy.  That's because I need a regular reminder that He's saved me from the most slippery of all slopes.  The book of Titus says it well:
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7 ESV, emphasis mine)
I tend to think about the words "save" and "savior" too lightly.  I easily forget what the words mean because I don't often feel like I need to be saved from anything.  But if you've ever been sliding down a truly slippery slope, falling with no hope of stopping until you smash into something at the bottom, the words take on fresh meaning.  And that's what it sounds like in the passage above.  We were so totally far gone, beyond hope, foolishly and disobediently flying head-first down the slope to hell - and all the while we were led astray such that we didn't even know there was a problem.

It's off that slippery slope that God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Savior, saved us.  Jesus did this willingly by sacrificing Himself for you, for me, and for all those He's going to use us to reach as a result of our fundraising.

So let's remember that slippery slope He's pulled us from.  In comparison, these dips in support aren't that big of a deal.  Rather, consider them a gracious means by which He is reminding us to cling more tightly to Him than to our support levels.  If He's saved us from the most slippery of all slopes, He'll certainly help us out through every other slope we'll encounter (Romans 8:32).