Beyond Ourselves: John Jackson

For me, my journey started by trying to hear a “specific number” from God. I kept thinking of what king David said, “I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing” and I wondered what that would look like for us.

But instead of a “number” God took me back 20 years to when Deanna and I got married and we said that, “we didn’t want to let our standard of living be dictated by our income.”

Now to be honest, that was not much of a challenge as we were in ministry and living on a shoestring budget. We were keenly aware of our need and God continually provided beyond our income in unexpected ways.

But with each year that passed and my income grew the gap narrowed and the reliance on God didn’t feel as pressing. This happened so gradually that we were like the frog in the kettle enjoying our warm DuPage County bath!

So as I prayed and sought the Lord on what “a costly gift” would mean, I heard God say something unexpectantly.

I heard Him saying, “Can you trust me to meet your needs?” It may seem like a silly question…after all, He WAS meeting our needs through a job that was providing for our family. Right?

Well it appeared that God was calling us to something more risky.

He was calling us back to that early desire to not let our standard of living be dictated by our income. In other words God’s call to us has been one of limitation…to choose to live on less than we make and give the rest away.

So after all it was a specific number, but not a number to give, but to keep. We plan to maintain the same actual dollar amount on our budget and give everything above that amount to the Lord regardless of how much we make in the future. In so doing, He is calling us to trust Him for any gaps that will come.

For the next three years those funds will be directed toward the Beyond Campaign. And when the campaign is completed, we’ll have the fun of giving away everything above that dollar amount to other needs.

I’m reminded of what Mr. Beaver tells Lucy about Aslan, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Mr. Beaver says, "Safe? Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

What God is calling us to isn’t “safe”, but we’re excited to experience the “Good.”

• The Good that will come as we see people formed by God;
• The Good that will come as we are more dependent on God for our needs;
• The Good that will come from the freedom of having less; and
• The Good that will come from seeing our “heavenly 401k” grow with eternal interest.

There is no better investment plan!

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