Resources and Resourcefulness
by Tim Walk
Over the last three years I have had the opportunity to speak with many church planters. One of the reoccurring themes is the bargaining with God about the call to plant a church. It is amazing to see so many people who I admire and who have planted and launched very fruitful churches tell God, “I can’t do this.”
Have you done that? If you haven’t you probably will. I think all of us have told God that what He called us to simply cannot be done, at least it can’t be done by us. We have all disqualified ourselves in light of a calling to plant a church by the Almighty.
Many times, this disqualification is based on resources. I remember having my check list ready. These were the things needed by me from God before I launched a church. They included some financial provision for the ministry and my family as well as things I felt I needed before I could ever consider planting. I thought I needed a Bible degree, I thought I needed tenure as an associate or campus pastor since my entire professional ministry career was spent in youth ministry.
Even as I was in the launch process, my main concern was resources. We need to get more money, more people, more Facebook likes, etc. What I learned over the last few years is something I heard Tony Robbins once say, “The defining factor is never resources; it's resourcefulness.”
The defining factor to your or my success is not resources but resourcefulness. Before you begin to push back, let’s unpack this thought a bit more. How many things have we disqualified ourselves from because we lacked resources? Maybe you didn’t start that discipleship group because you lacked a leader, or that ministry because you lacked funding or that missions trip because you lacked the time. Resources are not the key to fruitful ministry, resourcefulness is.
First of all, I want you to recognize, that resources are not always an indication of God’s will.
God did not want 5,000 people to go hungry even though there was no food. God did not want to avoid paying the temple tax even though there didn’t seem to be any money handy. God didn’t want to leave the beggar at the gates called beautiful empty handed even though the apostles had neither silver or gold. Scripture is filled with examples when people lacked resources. This is not an indication of God’s will, but instead an opportunity to seek God. Before you scrap that crazy dream or hope in your heart, go to God. Konan Stephens says, “God, if it’s your will, it’s your bill.” If God has given you a passionate dream, don’t throw it away because what you think it takes to accomplish that dream is not in a ready to go, microwaved package.
A lack of resources is never the case with God.
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, remember? He has what we need and more importantly, He is what we need. We don’t need more money, more people and more Facebook likes. We need more of God. We need more of His insights and His favor. God can call a 1,000 leaders to your church right now. He is the resource, He is the prize. It is easy in the midst of trying times to look past God for our resources. You can see Jesus’ frustration when crowds began following Him after He fed 5,000
“Jesus answered them and said, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.'"
“Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'" (John 6:26-27; 35)
He is the prize. Seeking Him and asking Him for resources is a privilege of being in relationship with the Father.
Resources are a gift from God, resourcefulness is a development of character.
God does give us what we need.
“Every good gift comes from the Father of lights in whom there is no shifting shadow or variation.” (James 1:17)
God gives us good gifts, however the act of searching and creating develops our character. Many times I wished God could just download what I needed. I wish I could get the patience CD-Rom drive and then embody patience like I was in the Matrix. But you and I both know that’s not how it works. You and I must develop patience, trust in God, faithfulness, endurance. If our prayer life was just a conveyor belt of resources then we may have the church we want but possess the character that God doesn’t want. There are no shortcuts to character.
Resourcefulness creates a deeper dependency on God and His sufficiency.
I have a six-year-old son, a four-year-old daughter and a four-month-old son. I have a very special relationship with my youngest because he is absolutely dependent on me. He needs me to feed him, to change him, to help him sleep. My older kids need me a lot less. There is a special bond that is developed in that first year between parent and child, and part of it is dependency. If God has called us to a special work, wouldn’t He call us to a special relationship with Him too? Why would it surprise us that He would use resources as a way to spend more time with us? Of course He can give us what we need before we ask and many times He does. Sometimes, however, He uses what we want – resources – to give us what we need – intimacy.
No matter what stage of ministry you are in, I know that you need more resources. Maybe its enough money to make payroll, maybe its another building to launch another campus. Wherever you are, I want to encourage you to not neglect resourcefulness for resources.