His Sufficiency & Our Response
by Garret Barbush | President & CEO
In March, Vince Miller and I teamed up to host Real. Men. Talk. In our conversation, Vince posed a question for all men, “How would God have me respond to inevitable consequences?” My response was simple, “I think God would want us to respond with a game plan.”
After all, having a game plan embodies who Men of Iron is. We encourage mentors and protégés to seek God’s will for their 5F’s – faith, family, friends, fitness and finances – and to establish a game plan to accomplish those goals.
COVID-19 has impacted my original game plan for 2020. The only part of my plan to remain constant are my faith goals. Nothing should ever get in the way of building spiritual disciplines. However, I’ve had to go back to prayer in regards to the goals established around my family, friends, fitness and finances. It’s definitely sent me on a detour.
COVID-19 has disrupted Men of Iron more than I like to admit. This pandemic has presented big issues both in our missional and fundraising initiatives. I have no doubt that God will speak through our staff and board and hope will arise, but I hit a breaking point last week. After several frustrating conversations and encounters, I found myself staring at the wall in my office. I thought, “Ok, God. I’m out of ideas. I don’t know what else to do. You have to show up or tell me what to do.”
Regardless of your personal and professional experience, COVID-19 has reared its ugly head in real ways. Unemployment sky rocketed, investment portfolios tanked, businesses closed, etc. If you haven’t been negatively impacted by COVID-19, then I encourage you to slow down, look around and search for people who are weary and burdened. Because they are closer to you than you think.
I don’t want it, but I can’t seem to unload this anxious feeling I’ve been carrying. Personally and professionally, things have felt chaotic. Nothing seems to make sense or come together easily. Each days presents more challenges and it’s difficult to get clarity. I find myself responding to inevitable consequences with my own plans and strength rather than humbling myself in God’s presence and asking, “How do You want me to respond to all of this, Father?”
The Holy Spirit shook me up this morning as I was thinking about everything. I was led to 2 Corinthians 8:1-2. The apostle Paul is writing to Corinth about a situation that occurred in Macedonia.
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2)
Slow down and read that again. They encountered severe affliction, had an abundance of joy, were in extreme poverty and decided to respond with an overflowing wealth of generosity. Paul says the people of Macedonia had an abundance of joy even though they were experiencing affliction and poverty. But why? How?
God took me back to verse 1 – “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches in Macedonia…”
God nudged me. “Forget your plans and failures. My grace is sufficient, Garret. Just be generous.”
After sharing my experience with a mentor of mine, he reminded me of something profound. Right now, we find ourselves in between Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost). While Passover is a time of deliverance, Pentecost is a time where we receive direction. I want to encourage and challenge all of us to respond accordingly. As Pentecost nears (May 28-30), allow God’s grace to move you. Look for ways to model an overflowing wealth of generosity. Someone in your life needs to talk. Be generous with your time. Someone in your life needs blessed financially. Be generous with your finances. Someone in your life needs your skill set. Be generous with your talents.
Check out this short clip of John Piper’s message – “Could a Recession Serve Our Joy?” Piper delivered this message during the Great Recession, and I found this to be helpful in better understanding 2 Corinthians 8:1-2.