What an amazing provision for the Go and Grow project we have just seen.
When the children of Israel escaped from Egypt and were wandering in the desert led by Moses the Lord provided bread from heaven, that they called ‘manna’, to eat (Exodus 16). They were instructed to collect enough for each day, but not to keep any overnight for the next day. Some disobeyed this instruction only to find that by morning the manna had gone rotten with maggots. God was providing all they needed, but they could never store away a nest egg for the future. God was teaching them to trust him one day at a time. There is an allusion to this episode in the Lord’s prayer, when we say “give us today our daily bread”. We are called to have faith that God will always provide enough for the moment but never too much.
Through the last two months we needed to raise an additional £1m for the Go and Grow project. After weeks of promotions we came to ‘Pledge Sunday’ on 18th October. In consultation with the project accountants, we knew that we needed £250k from that final week on the campaign and announced this one-week target to everyone. On Pledge Sunday there was a great atmosphere in church and my faith began to rise that perhaps this was possible. The count was extensive and complex and took our office staff much of the week to conclude. The result of all the pledges from Sunday were emailed through to me on Thursday afternoon and the total came to £205k. I looked bleakly at the screen. I knew that this was an amazing amount of money born out of incredible generosity and sacrifice. And yet we had not made our target and this presented huge problems for the project. I was very grateful for all those who had given so much and yet I couldn't help feeling slightly downcast.
However ten minutes later another email pinged into my inbox. This time it was from a lady completely outside St Barnabas who had heard of our project and watched our video https://youtu.be/-TpbfywlqTk. She had been so impressed that she was emailing me to tell me that she was personally pledging to give £50k to the project. I sat there dumbfounded at this extraordinary largesse and at the amazing provision of God; we had made our target in the most unexpected way! Then, by way of icing on the cake, about half an hour later, a member of St Bs rang me to tell me that he had gotten around to pledging and wanted now to tell me that he was pledging £45k! While I sat reeling from this, I realised that we had specifically asked St Bs to give £250k that week, and now the total of St Bs giving for the week stood at £250,084.50. The wonderful gift from the generous lady from outside St Bs was on top of that.
The total for the September-October fundraising push was £1.16m, meeting our £1m target. We are rightly rejoicing at this amazing provision. And yet we have to remember that only about £500k of this has been in gifts - the remaining amount being in loans which will need to be repaid in the future. We have manna for today, but not for tomorrow. We are still on that most uncomfortable of journeys, the walk of faith.