By now it is no secret that Jenny and I have contemplated quitting this adventure many times. We could simply get jobs, save money and, within a few months, be normal Americans- pulling ourselves up by our boot straps. We are then forced to contemplate the ramifications of such a decision. My purpose in writing this post is to record part of the thought process that we go through each time we contemplate quitting.
The first thing to consider is why we came on this journey in the first place. We were challenged by the question, “Who tells you what to do?”. As good Christians, we knew that the answer was supposed to be God but, as people of honesty and integrity, we were forced to admit that money gave us our orders. This challenged us to the very core and caused us to examine the claims of scripture. In particular, Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 6. He instructed his followers to seek his kingdom before their own and gave them an example of the birds and how he cares for their well being. The point is, he will take care of his followers, if they will trust him and follow his leading. While these are Biblical concepts, they are not seriously practiced in our western European church culture.
Modern Christians are into detailed planning. Missionaries travel to earn funds, so that they have a guaranteed support for their mission. Pastors weigh their salary requirements, prior to taking a position and the average believer wants a detailed accounting of their giving, to ensure it is not mismanaged. There are examples of people disregarding these conventions, but either their spouse bears the burden of paying the bills or they exhaust themselves working a job, they despise, while attempting to seek first the kingdom at the same time. Several years ago I was discussing this with a lady who had bore the burden of the family’s financial well being for many years, while her husband pastored a church. She was preparing for retirement and honestly admitted that she was so busy making sure they survived that she never had time to do what God had called her to do. I do not believe that God’s plan is for one spouse to give up their purpose in order to financially support the other, while they seek first the kingdom of God or that his followers must wait until retirement to seek first the kingdom. He either means what he says, when he tells us he will care for us, or he does not. We felt that he was asking us to step out and prove that his word is true.
Over the last 20 months, we have endeavored to seek first the kingdom and trust God to take care of the rest. What does seeking first the kingdom look like? It is simply hearing from God and obeying. Our western European, glamour addicted culture would like it to be more complicated than that. Start a church or an orphanage or a homeless shelter or a ministry. All of those things are fine, if God has directed you to do them, but what if he wants to use you to show a generation of Christians, enslaved to the god of money, that there is another way? Our adventure is what seeking first the kingdom looks like for the Sanders family. I am not saying that if you choose to seek first the kingdom that your life should look like ours (in many ways I hope it never does). God has told us (many times, in many ways) that we would need to suffer for a time, but he will miraculously provide and we will, once again, have more than enough to be a blessing to others.
So, when we are overwhelmed and ready to quit, we are faced with a decision. Do we obey the direction that God has given us and bring financial freedom to God’s people, or do we simply get a job and join the masses in being productively occupied until we die? Once we weigh it out, the choice is always clear. We will stand fast, on the truth of Matthew 6. We will see the people of God freed from slavery to the god of money, once and for all. Sounds like a big task doesn’t it? So did Moses’ task when God told him to ask for the freedom of the Israelis from Egypt, but he did not back down. Neither will we!