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Don't Pray For A Table If You Live In The Forest.

Don’t Pray For A Table If You Live In The Forest

My Ghanian friend, Pastor Asare, told me something several years ago. He said, “God did not make a table. He created a tree.”

The point is simple. In many cases, God provided what we need and it is in front of us. We have to think and apply ourselves to find it.

I looked on the internet to try and find this quote from Johnson, and I found a spot where TD Jake expanded on it.

He said, “Half of the things they are asking God to do is tables and chairs and He does trees. If they could catch what I'm talking about we could start praying about stuff that's in alignment with His will for us. God is the ultimate strategist and opens doors that no human could've open but we must also remember the incredible responsibility and opportunity He reserved for us to create. Consider that God never made a table, chair, pencils to write, or paper to write upon. God almighty never created a box for storage nor a crate for shipping. Did He not know that we would need them? Of course the God of the Universe knew. Yet He never once stooped down to make any of the items we would need every day to survive. Instead He gave us trees because he knew that trees if used properly would provide us raw resources to imagine and create specific objects we would need. Are you using all the resources God has placed in your life and dropped in your lap?"

I love this idea.

Are we praying for things God has already given to us?

Maybe the answer to our prayer is to think and work.

What if we chose to be creative and strategic with the resources God already gave to us?

What if we are ‘waiting’ for God to answer and ‘believing’ God for the answer when He answered us before we asked?

The tree we need in order to have our table is over 100 years old. God started growing what could one day be your table before your parents were born. Now, you just need to open your eyes and your mind to see the answer in front of you. It is not in the form you expected. However, if you really look, you can have your table, make and sell 20 other tables, then use the money from selling them to…..

A great example is the guesthouse we started while missionaries in Bolivia. We discovered so many needs around us. People needed life saving surgery, food, clean water, and basic housing. There were so many needs and so little money. An idea formed. If we started a guesthouse to allow short term teams to stay, charged them for food and the room, then we could use 100% of the profit to fund projects and not depend on donors. We raised $3,000 to start it. Over the ten years we operated it, we were able to invest almost tens of thousands of dollars into various humanitarian and evangelistic projects. God did not create the guesthouse. He sent the people to stay in it.

What if we who live in/with/through the non-profit world of church/missions changed our thinking?

What if, instead of thinking “donors”, we were able to think “income string”?

Just this morning I met with the President and Vice President of the Ghana Baptist Seminary in Tamale. They shared the student body of the seminary consists of many poor students. The students cannot afford tuition. Therefore the leadership of the seminary is searching for donors to provide a scholarship fund. This is normal. It is the way things are done. Tuition is $150 per year. If we can get 10 people to donate $150, then ten students can attend this year. No issues with this. I will probably raise money for it.

But, what if?

What if instead of raising money, the leadership looked for a way to create an income string? What if they started a business?

What if the business made a meager $3,000 in profit each year? Well, this would mean 20 students a year can attend school….from now on! If they managed and grew the business properly, it is conceivable to have a school which is tuition free because the profit is enough.

The problem is, no one thinks like that.

I plan on meeting with the leadership again and proposing a student managed enterprise. Students who receive the scholarship must volunteer a few hours/week. This gives volunteer labor and increases profits. 100% of the net profit is put in the scholarship fund.

Why ask God for a table if we have a tree?

What are you asking God to do right now?

Look around.

Has He already answered your prayer but in a manner which requires creative thought?

Are you asking God for a finished product when He already gave you the resources to do it yourself?

Are you asking God for a table as you stand in a forest?

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