Money and Margins

by Keisha Pierce

We didn't talk much about money growing up. I knew and learned 3 things about it:

  1. We didn't have much of it.
  2. If you wanted more of it, you have to work hard.
  3. You should give a portion of it to God.

So you can imagine my joy when I started working. The harder I worked the more money I got. God’s blessings were abundant to this undereducated, naive child of His.

As an adult, I was always generous...or so I thought. You can imagine my surprise, when in becoming a full-time missionary, our income was reduced to one-fifth of what it was in the States, but the needy, hungry and sick multiplied.

What were these new feelings I was experiencing? Judgment. Fear. Entitlement.

Suddenly being generous was painful. It revealed my true heart. I could give a little back home when I had so much coming in. But suddenly fear took over when little was coming in and much was being asked of me. Even when people don’t ask, you can’t see the suffering that we see here in South Sudan and not want to do something.

The truth is that the needs that I see around me are rooted in a spiritual poverty. A need for this world to turn from darkness to the Kingdom of Light! But none of that changes the condition of my heart. I’m thankful that God is teaching me 3 things I wish I had known (in my heart) about money:

  1. Every moment of everyone’s life is contingent on the mercy bestowed to us by God. It is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away.
  2. What is mine is not really mine, but God’s. Therefore, I must ask the Lord, “How shall I use the gifts that You have given me to steward?” 
  3. The Lord can meet all of my needs and continues to meet all of my needs. Sometimes it’s through the generosity of our supporters and not through a formal paycheck. But nonetheless God’s provision is there. I don’t need to hoard out of fear that somehow His money will run out.

I now better understand the phrase in Proverbs 11:24, to “suffer want”. Some of you have been examples to me of how living within reasonable boundaries lends itself to a more generous lifestyle. I pray that God would mold me into that person despite the screaming in our culture to have more and more and more.

“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:24-25