Faith and Running Revisited

In my initial blog post in April of 2010, I focused on the following verse, ““But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31.  I shared that I had not fully trusted in the Lord as it relates to tithing, and I made a commitment to immediately begin to fully tithe.  I also promised to come back and share my progress and report back on how God fulfilled his promise.  As one year has come to an end and another has begun, January 1st seems like the perfect time to reflect on the year past as well as to renew my commitment to my passion for running and sharing my faith.

In late November, the Pastor at my church shared his stewardship message just after the offering.  In most churches I’ve been to, this is roughly an annual message delivered by a Pastor to the congregation to encourage giving.  In his message, our Pastor spoke of giving the first fruits of our labors to God and living on what is left over.  After all, everything we have is God’s and we are only looking after and taking care of it while we spend time here on earth.  His message struck a strong chord within me, and I was reminded of the blog post commitment I made in April to give the full 10 percent of my wages to the Lord.  After service that day, I felt compelled (i.e. moved by the Spirit!) to approach Pastor and share my blog post with him, but I didn’t intend to stop there.  I wanted to expand upon Pastor’s stewardship message and start a grass roots campaign to encourage greater giving within our church.  The Spirit had moved me to boldly volunteer to go before the congregation and share my testimony with them.   In Pastor’s office I brought up the post on my smart phone and read as the Pastor and his wife listened.  I could sense their enthusiasm as I spoke aloud and the glances that they exchanged, and when I asked Pastor if I could share my testimony with the congregation, he unhesitatingly agreed.

Two weeks later I was slated to share my blog post on tithing, and as I prepared I was a bit nervous.  While I speak in public settings regularly, it’s one thing to share my thoughts online where there is some anonymity involved, but it’s another thing entirely to bare one’s soul in front of your church family.  I began to feel the weight of my commitment as I began to think of my speech as a public confession, but it was the Pastor’s wife that turned me around as she used the word testimony which put me back into the right frame of mind.  I put my trust in the Lord, said a prayer to ask that the Spirit guide me, and I delivered my message to the congregation.

In addition to the post from April, and to now update all of you on what has happened since, I shared with the congregation that my family has been tithing faithfully, and God has blessed us greatly.  I have trusted in the Lord and he has given me new strength and made my faith even stronger.  Whether it was perseverance in directing the 40 Days of Community campaign at our church, participating on the call committee to add a Lay Minister to the church staff, or the strength and stamina to complete the Chicago Marathon in October, God was there urging me on.  Even in this time of great economic uncertainty, not once has my family run short in our checking account, but instead, every week we cheerfully give the first fruits of our labors to God.  God is truly great!