Bob Pierce was the founder of World Vision and later developed Samaritan’s Purse, an organization now headed by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham. In his book, Rebel With a Cause, Franklin Graham describes some instruction he received from Pierce, who said,
“You know, Franklin, you always have to have ‘God room’ — when you have a need you believe God wants you to meet. You try, but you can’t. After you’ve exhausted all your human effort, there’s still a gap. No matter what you do, you just can’t humanly bring it about. That’s when you pray and leave room for God to work. You watch God close that gap . . . then you can watch God work a miracle.
“Faith isn’t required as long as you set your goal only as high as the most intelligent, most informed, and expert human effort can reach. Nothing is a miracle until it reaches the area where the utmost that human effort can do still isn’t enough. God has to fill that space — that room — between what’s possible and what He wants done that’s impossible. . . .You don’t exercise faith until you have promised more than it’s possible to give.”
God room. It’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? Unfortunately, that concept is foreign to many people concerning their giving as they determine their giving levels strictly by logical, rational reasoning.
When you come right down to it, it doesn’t take a lot of “street smarts” or financial prowess to calculate just how much we might be able to give to the Lord’s work. After all, it’s a simple three-step procedure. First, add up all expenses; second, subtract that total from income; third, whatever is left is available to consider giving to the Lord.
Sadly, some Christians take that approach, but that is just the opposite of what Bob Pierce was describing and what giving by faith is all about. Allowing God room to work, stepping out by faith when the answer isn’t clear, and putting God to the test is what giving by faith really means. It goes beyond the calculator and computer. It reaches into our hearts to ask if we are willing to trust God by practicing first-fruits giving, i.e., giving to the Lord off the top before we know what our final income total will be.
That’s why I like what Jerry Bridges, Vice President of the Navigators, wrote:
“When God burdens your heart to do something, and you confirm His leading according to the Scriptures, you can obey, being fully confident that God will provide a blessing, even when circumstances appear contrary.”
Or as Bob Pierce said it so well, “You always have to have some ‘God room.'”