Fishing Lessons

When my husband and I first started dating, he was in severe credit card debt. Through a series of uncontrollable circumstances he was laid off of his job, found himself in credit card debt, and took the first job he was offered in order to pay his bills. The job paid horribly and left him in a position where he was hopeless of ever paying off his debt and in desperate need of a miracle. His testimony of his deliverance from debt is amazing, and I will get him to write it sometime in the future. In brief summary, he began to ask God in earnest to deliver him from debt and God began to teach Matt about giving. He began to teach Matt about credit cards and managing his finances. He began to teach him about faith. And yes, there was a good deal of the miraculous in people feeling led to give him money, but God also sent Matt a new job.

This past week we have looked at how to identify your bills. Next week we are going to be looking at your take home income and how to budget with different forms of income (salary, hourly, commission, self-employed, etc). But for today, I just wanted to take a moment to share a thought with you. It comes from a wonderful pastor here in Tulsa named Bob Yandian. A few years ago he preached a sermon in which he said, if you are asking God for provision, be prepared for Him to send work. In other words, money in the mail is wonderful and praise God for those unexpected miracles, but sometimes God’s provision of additional work for you, or creative ways to make money, or even better ways to manage your money, can be your miraculous answer as well.

I keep thinking of the old saying… if you give a man a fish, you will feed his family for a night. If you teach a man to fish, you will feed his family for a lifetime. I think this is very much the heart of our heavenly Daddy when he provides work for us when we are just wanting a quick fix. In every situation, God is so much more concerned with our hearts than our circumstances. I think that is because He knows if our hearts don’t change, we will just keep getting in the same mess over and over again. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, and it is very difficult for us to move forward into that plan if we are stuck going in circles of lack and debt.

There have been many times in our marriage that Matt and I have come into agreement and asked God for an answer to a financial need, only to have the phone ring with someone wanting to hire Matt for side work. Matt is a professional musician, graphic artist, and does web design, so it is not unusual for the phone to ring. However, the timing always has the feeling of the smile of God on us, just loving providing for His kids.

I wanted to share this with you because as we look at your income this next week, many of you may be praying that prayer… Lord, I just need your provision. God is so incredibly faithful, and I know that He will answer you, but it may just come in the form of work, or more creative ways to manage the money you are already making. It may be that God has already put creative ideas for making money in your heart, and you have been sitting around waiting for someone else to come along and do all of the work. If this is you, may I just lovingly suggest that it’s time to quit sitting around waiting for the fish to fall from heaven. God is so merciful and every good thing comes from His hands, so sometimes He may just send you a fish, but many times His answer is for you to learn how to fish. The good news is, if God is the one giving the fishing lessons… you are guaranteed to catch a fish 🙂