Mark 16:15 (NLT) And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”
I was reminded yesterday that I completed nine years of writing Fresh Manna in December. Someone recently asked me, “Pastor Tim – most everyone that does something like you gets paid, asks for donations, or has some benefit they gain from the kind of work it takes to do what you are doing. Is there a way you personally benefit from writing Fresh Manna?” The answer to that question is yes and no. Monetarily to I benefit? No. Renee and I actually pay to put out Fresh Manna. But do I benefit? More than you’ll ever know. Hearing back from readers about how Fresh Manna has helped to come to know or draw closer to God is what keeps me going.
I learned early on in my young leadership that our life’s purpose can be summed up in on word – “Influence.” I am an Associate Pastor in a very large church. I get to be with and minister to people on many different levels every day. But, I always wanted to reach more. I’ll never forget this one particular day when I had first started working in the ministry, a very insightful young man – Todd Abendroth, a person I really enjoyed got a hold of me. He was passionately telling me that the computer age was going to change everything about how we reached people for Jesus. He was computer savvy and this was before I ever had a computer –the early 80’s. IBM introduced their first home PC in 1981, so that tells you how long ago this was. Because I didn’t have a computer at that time and really knew little to nothing about them, I couldn’t even picture what he was talking about. But, as he described what he saw, he planted a seed in my heart.
A couple of years later that I got my first computer and taught myself how to use it. I worked hard at it. I spent almost two hours a night reading through manuals and learning how to work one. I worked hard to learn what I was beginning to see would be an incredible tool for reaching more and more people for Jesus. I could never shake Todd’s words about how computers would change everything and how we’d be able to reach so many more people for Jesus.
Years later I had become fairly proficient using the computer and used one in all aspects of my work. At that time I had been a marathon runner and had been training for and running a marathon every year. The running schedule was intense. I would run usually two hours a day three or four times a week and as I got closer to the marathon, three to four hours of running per day.
One day the Lord began to deal with me about using all this time on something that would benefit more people than just me. He began to speak to me about journaling. It was very early in the morning – usually dark when I’d start running. There was no one around, and I’d sing and worship the Lord out loud while I was running. I’d also spend a lot of time praying. In those wonderful quiet times, the Lord would speak to my heart. I never wanted to forget a thing He’d say but the truth is, sometimes I did.
One day the Lord spoke to me about elevating my reverence for what He spoke to my heart. He impressed me to begin journaling so that I could remember what He had spoken to me. I obeyed the Lord. As I would get home from a run, I would go straight to my home office and journal what I felt the Lord was speaking to me that morning. I became as faithful to that as I was to running. Something happened to me from this step of obedience. My passion for journaling began to grow.
I was in a prayer group at that time and when I’d go to it, I’d share some of my thoughts from my journal with my friends in the group. They loved what I had to say and asked if I would send them what I was writing by email to them. I did. They then asked if they could share it with others. I said sure. Before long, my journaling became more important to me that my running and people started asking if they could get on my “list.” I never thought in terms of a list but it was growing into exactly that. It grew and grew. At one point, I knew that what Todd had shared with me all those years back, had become manifest in my life. I was reaching people I didn’t even know as what I shared was passed to others. My list grew to a hundred, then hundreds, then a thousand, then thousands. I actually had people sending me feedback from all over the country and then from different locations around the world.
Here I am nine years later – actually into the tenth year, still writing Fresh Manna. I love sharing God’s love, His precious promises, and the good news of Jesus Christ with all those that desire to know more. It’s never been about money, but it has made me rich. I’ve become rich in the personal growth I’ve experienced as well as in strength & discipline through writing three to four times a week. I’ve become rich from the multitude of comments and graciously kind feedback I get from those whose lives have been positively affected through Fresh Manna. I’ve become rich through the touch of God’s grace to help me do this. So, the answer is, yes I greatly benefit but, it’s not about money. It’s about people.
I am thankful to my friend Todd who was used of God to plant this in my heart so many years ago. It’s amazing how God orchestrates our life when we’ll give our life over to be used of Him. Thank each of you for reading and sharing Fresh Manna with others. Thank you always for the kind feedback you send me as you feel led to. Thank you for allowing me to “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.”
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.