“Spiritually Healthy, Vision-Driven, and Fully funded” – You have heard these words numerous times, but what do they mean? What do they look like as qualities of a God-Asker?
My husband and I moved from Monterrey, Mexico, to our Jos, Nigeria site. By the time we arrived in Nigeria, we had depleted our staff account to move our family, establish housing, etc. We had two very different perspectives: mine believed God could supply our needs, and in faith, we trust Him to that end as I know He called us to serve there. My husband was full of doubt as he struggled with the lies of placement, funding, and trust (I promise, he told me I could write this :)). We decided to get on our knees, physically humbling ourselves, and pray. The following week, we had three people who ‘happened’ to give large donations to cover our moving costs and supply margin in our account to help us be sustainable in the present. Being spiritually healthy, vision-driven, and fully funded is often about our posture.
Let’s look at the posture of being and remaining spiritually healthy. Hebrews 11:26 says, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt because he was looking ahead to his reward.” This verse responds to Moses choosing the cost of knowing sometimes; we need to discover what God can do as we learn to trust Him. Faith or being spiritually healthy demands a choice – one doesn’t stumble into faithfulness. We can’t be people who settle for Egypt. There is a promise over our life from God. To be spiritually healthy, we need to recognize we might not experience what God is doing in our lives until we trust Him to do it. Moses showed being spiritually healthy was a posture of recognizing whose he was and trusting in God’s plan.
The posture of being vision-driven is about the direction–focusing on the essential things “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” Proverbs 29:18. Other translations even refer to not having a vision; people will perish. One needs to be first spiritually healthy, so secondly, one can be getting a vision from the Lord. “Where are we going? What are the steps to get there?” One of my roles in our organization is staff care, and I often see our staff becoming depleted and on the verge of “this is too much” as their vision diminishes.
The posture of being fully funded is the idea of being renewed daily. Romans 12:2a communicates, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Let’s look at some principles I have learned along the way. Many of these principles come from Michael Mitchell, on staff with Christian Alliance for the Orphan (CAFO).
1. Transformational giving is based on the abundance and trustworthiness of God (vision-driven), not a theology of scarcity.
2. We have a dual calling to steward the mission and grow and minister to the people God brings.
3. Every act of giving, asking, and receiving is first and foremost a statement about the faithfulness of God (similar to the first principle, but includes our part as well)
The posture of being fully funded requires us to love and care for our partners. We need to keep asking the question, “What do we want FOR, not FROM our partners?”. They will see it in how we interact with them. We are helping them step into what God has called them to do. A recognition also of God’s abundance is often most evident in times of uncertainty and scarcity. We have a partner who has reminded us that what began as a partnership for God’s calling on our lives has quickly transformed into a deep friendship, co-laboring together with joy.
How can these three aspects play out practically?
Spiritually Healthy – Put ourselves in places where we need the Lord to show up, not recklessly, but obeying right where we are so we can see Him at work. His glory, not ours.
Vision Driven – Consider where we might be short-sided in our direction. Where have we lost vision and have substituted our agenda that falls short of God’s plan?
Fully Funded – Write out a statement of what you want FOR your partners. Cast vision in it and keep it in front of you, so you don’t forget it is because of this partnership the Lord gets the glory, both from you and your partner.