Ron Pritz is our guest blogger today. He is the Executive Director of Organizational Development for OC International. When I heard his story recently I was compelled to ask him to share with our Generous Mind community about the task that is in front of him and how he is approaching it. Take a moment to read about how Ron is stewarding a large donation for the organization even as we struggle through recession.
“. . . for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . “ Philippians 4: 11b-12a (NIV)
The proper response to God’s provision, whether full or sparse, is the faith response of contentment. Like most mission agencies today, my organization, OC International, has had its share of struggles over the past two or three years in terms of matching spending to income. Hard decisions have had to be made. Times of pain have occurred.
But last December the Lord did something beyond our experience and even beyond our ability to “ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20). From a treasure trove of artifacts from 18th century Chinese royalty, the Lord gave us a completely unsolicited and unprecedented gift of $2,000,000 to be used for projects for our mission’s work around the world.
Because this gift was designated to projects and not primarily to operating expenses, we continue to lean on the Lord for His faithful monthly provisions. However, with this wonderful gift there has been a certain thrill throughout the organization that, for the first time, many ministry dreams are now becoming realities. Never before have we been able to go out to our people, challenging them to dream and soliciting from them strategic projects that will grow the Kingdom.
For the most part we have only been able to identify with the Apostle Paul in the “I know what it is to be in need” portion of the Philippians passage. And in those circumstances we, like most believers, find ‘contentment’ more of a challenge. But in these last few months we have enjoyed joining Paul in experiencing “what it is to have plenty.” But in the end Paul’s point is neither need nor plenty. His point is contentment. So our prayer is that the Lord will give us His grace to rejoice in this wonderful gift while realizing that He grants us ‘needs’ so that we can learn contentment in those times as well.
Can we really have contentment no matter whether the Lord graces us with plenty or graces us with little? Both are part of His provision and are linked to what He is doing in our lives and in our organizations.