This month at World Concern, we are praying for $1.96 million in new funding. That is $1.96 million to be received in this 30-day month.
I had someone say, “Why not just pray for $2 million?” I thought, “Because after the diligent work of our accounting and income processing people they have determined we need $1.96 million.” He responded, “Have you met accountants? You should pray for $2 million.” Needless to say, this guy was in sales.
When I look at the Bible and the use of figures, numbers and currency, God does not round. It wasn’t “about 10 disciples.” They didn’t catch “around 150 fish.” Baskets didn’t return with a “few loaves.” Twelve, 153, 5 and 3, 70, 40 and a whole bunch of other numbers were used in exact figures in the Bible.
The God of the Bible is an exact God. We aren’t whirling out into space on an approximation…”I’m glad that worked.” He has numbered your days…God is not thinking you will live “for awhile.” Recall that this is the Lord that knows the very number of hairs on your head.
In the Jewish mindset numbers were very specific. They didn’t round up, down or simply change figures, because numbers meant something. Specific numbers were important in the Biblical times, they were important to God and they should be important to us.
Figures may be intimidating. Even as I share raising $1.96 million in one month, you may think, “Holy cow” (we’ll get to that). By having an exact figure, we may miss the target and that is disappointing. We don’t want to be disappointed, especially in our efforts, prayers or especially, God. Our figures are not intimidating to God. He had a plan. This is the Lord that owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Most of the time we just need a cow.
This isn’t just about numbers, God also wants us to do the work. The Bible is clear that if we are faithful with the small things, God will bless us with the big things. J. Robert Clinton of Fuller Seminary calls it the 16:10 Principle. It’s based on the verse, Luke 16:10, that says if you are faithful with the small things, you will be faithful with the big things.
Should you really expect God to answer your prayers for $1.96 million if you don’t even have the ability to truly know if you actually need $1.97m, $2m or $1.7m? The scripture and personal experience has shown me that if you are not faithful with the small things, like being specific, God will not bless you with the big things of life.
For a time I was managing a number of ministry budgets that were in deficit. This required a deep dive into ministry operations and budgeting.
As I poured over budgets and talked to Executive Directors, there was one consistent. They all had various issues, from lack of income to a bad hire to an event that lost money, that put them in the red. But there was one expense that all of them had in common. Each of these ministries had paid a baggage fee for a plane trip.
In their season of mandated money micromanagement, I asked, “Why?” They responded, “It was just easy.,” “I didn’t have time to pack,” “Wasn’t sure what to do.” This was the themes to the answers…a general lack of planning and inattention to the small things.
So then I started to look at surplus budgets in-similar organizations. Those ministries did not have expenses for baggage fees or book orders from a local book store or a large Starbucks account bill (and Lord knows I like my Venti Frap).
Now does $25 for a baggage fee make a difference? Not in $1.96 million. What it pointed to is that they were not being thoughtful of the small things. The thought was that $25 doesn’t matter. They are correct. It is a small amount. It should not be sweated. Yet, there should be a mindset that says, each little bit counts because it is all God’s and I will act and plan like that it true.
So the accountants have done the work. We’ve check the figures. We trust a big God. And we are praying for $1.96 million this month. Join in the fun. Pray with us and let’s see what God does as we push to the end of the month.