Approaching the end of 2013, everybody started in discussion that 2014 is going to be the toughest year yet. Is it true? Raymond thought over this and found out that the Gospel ministry is tough in each and every year! It is because ministry itself (especial the independent localized Gospel ministry) does not have any conditions to make money. Plus the word “independent” clearly means that there is no financial groups or churches giving consistent offering, how can it not to be tough then? For Chinese cultured group, they are even more careful in using the money; their support is not easily earned.
In financial downturn, the only way out is “spending”, earning more money. This makes Raymond recall a post in Facebook concerning a richman teaching one of the foundation in acquiring wealth. Save money each month for yourself, treat those who are more capable, more authority, higher position, more qualification. Besides getting their experience during meals, we will have 12 angels standing behind us for backup in anytime.
The other end of thinking, Raymond recall a reputable man in the Bible – Paul. He was a high-ranking officer, having encountered Jesus, he came to understand the love, the value of life, the hope of heaven and the mission given to him; he stepped down and preaching the Good News and never turn back. His life extended the Lord’s teaching including what stated in Acts 20:35 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” His did not have a rich rich afterward, only moving forward for the Gospel, teaching the church until the last breath.
March to May 2013, we encountered the biggest challenge in finance – expenses more than income; In April the income was only half the expenses. The first thought came to us was to ask for help. We asked for help from those whom we had given gift baskets, and angels we had believed firmly through meals. However, things did not fall into place as what the richman said. Raymond asked wife, “Can we make it this month?” “Instant noodles are ready, should not be a problem!” Haha! After we settled the needs for co-workers, children, paying the fees of printing, transportation and maintenance, we had not much left. My wife and I thought that this is the biggest challenge and trial but it does not end there! God wants our foundation to be stronger through “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
There was a pastor who cared for us very much in the past, encountered a strong hit and change in life, he could not pay for his daily need in a sudden. After a discussion, my wife said without a doubt, “Let us bless him with half that we have.” Raymond respects the love from wife. Out of love, I follow the decision. Shortly after, my wife told me that a pastor we knew for a long time having pressure in selling off the tickets for fundraising. I responded, let’s give our half to bless her! We are ministry too and know the tough part of surviving.
God wants us to be a channel of blessing in our toughest time. For man, how should we give with such little left? We forgot what Jesus had done with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. The keys are attitude, willingness and belief. Those who are willing and believe, surely will reap the abundance of 5 loaves and 2 fish! Finally, we had gone through the tough months of April and May. In June during the Sabah tour for 2 weeks, we experienced the abundance and shock from God like never before. Through this tour, God had prepared just enough for the rest of the year! Hallelujah! The generosity of brothers and sisters in Christ was unprecedented, as if the Lord had touched them before. There is even a very low profile sister bless our ministry until today, never stops! When we look back of what we had given, experienced and challenges faced, they were really nothing.
Indeed, 2014 is not going to be easy but the Lord’s merciful love and abundance are greater than all these! An insignificant Chinese localized ministry is taken care of by God; what more will he do for you who have the ability to earn financially? The key is not lie in the teaching of surviving but the foundation of life – foundation of our belief, the persistence of our faith. Life’s encounters are not merely financial problem, it might be relationship, souls, interpersonal relations, people dealing that causes us to fail. The core that turns our defeat into victory, renews our strength is our belief!
The generation which is ever more complicated, we need to be simpler. The harder and tougher our experience; we need to be simple in relying on our belief. As the repeated scripture in Sunday School says in Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” May the Lord protect our hearts and mind just as when we are still in childhood without distracting thought, simply believe then our mission, families, careers and lives can be more solid and receiving the abundance of the Lord.