I was talking with a friend of mine just a few weeks ago. He’s a Christian missionary and, as a result, he receives his salary through the charitable support donations of many churches and families that want to enable his work.
He shared with me that it’s interesting to look back over life. He has previously worked jobs that had a more traditional salary, where he wasn’t so obviously in need of soliciting donations from others.
It would seem to me that having a regular salaried position would in every way be preferable to living with the uncertainty and burden of enlisting donors and hoping that they send in their checks each month.
But his reflection was otherwise.
When he had his regular salary, he knew exactly how much he would get paid each month. Some months, it was obviously enough to support him and his family, and even to enjoy some non-essentials in life. But in other months, huge expenses loomed on the horizon, or unexpected emergencies arose, and all of a sudden that fixed salary was no longer sufficient. He knew how much he was getting, and he knew how much financial demand there was, and the two did not balance out. It took faith. Given his amount of salary, God would have to do something to decrease the demand, or the expenses couldn’t be covered.
Now, in living on support, he saw a different dynamic. He could never guess exactly how much would come in each month. Some people committed and gave faithfully each month. Others sent in larger donations less frequently. Still others had the best of intentions but the funds rarely appeared.
And the burden on his faith shifted. Whereas before he felt the income was guaranteed and the expenses were a challenge of faith, now he found himself having to trust God for the supply-side of things. He knew that rent was due. That visas would have to be renewed. Taxes would have to be paid. Would the funds be there? Would they come in this month? Next month? Next year?
Whether it’s supply-side faith or demand-side faith, it’s a question of faith either way. Whether the direct deposit amount from our employer seems solid and trustworthy, or whether our commission check or the charitable donations of others remain an open question from month to month, we all live in a place of needing to trust that God will provide.
Sometimes, He provides extra funds. An unexpected gift. A timely bonus. A rejoicing raise.
Sometimes, He reduces the demand. The kid gets a scholarship. The hurricane leaves the house untouched. A car warranty kicks in.
I find myself currently in a situation of needing to exercise some supply-side faith. God has recently, several times, demonstrated His ability to reduce the demand. His provision in this way has been good, lavish, and timely. But now, I feel the question of supply-side hanging over me. Where will the money come from? Will it be enough? What else should I do? Where else can we squeeze the budget?
I’m not alone in these questions. The economy of the last few years has been hard on many. Some people that never felt much pressure for either demand-side faith or supply-side faith are suddenly finding themselves needing to grow in both.
And I’ve been down the supply-side faith journey before. But God has brought me back to it again. Time to learn some more lessons, I guess. Time to experience His goodness once again, to grow in seeing just how big He is, how He truly holds all things–both my bills and my bonuses–in His hands.