The power of gratitude

I’m back in the office today after a quick trip to Raleigh and the campus of North Carolina State University yesterday. It was a great trip and I’ll write more about it later, but I thought I’d share a few thoughts about something that’s commanding my attention at the moment.

It’s May, which means we are in the fourth quarter of our ministry’s financial year (which ends June 30). This is always when there’s an added sense of urgency to the task of raising support to engage in ministry. December and June are always our biggest months for giving, which always means going into those months we experience butterflies! This is especially the case in May, since June 30 is the hard deadline for the fiscal year. If the money isn’t in by then, it’s too late.

The projections that I’m working with show that we’ll end with a shortfall of $24,082 this fiscal year. That’s a lot of money! Looking at that number caused a number of things to pass through my mind:

  • There is no way we can raise that money!
  • Am I really called to do this work?
  • I am such a failure.
  • Why hasn’t God provided these funds for us?

All of these reactions are pretty normal. Then something popped into my mind (I’d like to credit the Holy Spirit with this!). A little voice said: “How many new ministry partners have joined your support team this year? Who IS giving?”

Earlier today I spent some time praying for some friends I have recently met with to ask them to support the work God has called us to. I was praying for them, their families, that God would give them contentment and joy in their work, and that God would help them to discern whether supporting us was something He was calling them to.

I believe that out of that time of prayer, the Holy Spirit had softened my heart so that I was at least willing to stop what I was doing and reflect on the ways that God has provided. It was an enlightening exercise. Here’s what I discovered.

  • 17 new ministry partners! Seventeen individuals and/or families have joined our support team in 2010-2011. That’s seventeen (or more) people who are praying, giving, and some are volunteering!
  • 106 ministry partners total! There are more than one hundred individuals, families, churches, and foundations investing in our ministry with InterVarsity. That’s pretty humbling.
  • Giving more than 75% of ministry budget!

A word of thanks is in order. Looking at these numbers helped me to see that the glass isn’t just half full, in fact it’s more than 75% full!
Sure, we face a pretty serious funding challenge down the stretch and it’s 100% likely that we’ll be cutting our salaries significantly in May and June (ouch!) but through a simple exercise, my heart has moved from despair to hope.
If you’d like to learn more about our ministry you can check out our InterVarsity page here.

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