Monday, September 29, 2008

devotional 092908

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Even thought the weather was grey and foggy on my way to office, my heart was excited and warm in praising the Lord. Again we should not allow the outward circumstances to dictate our inner reality – the indwelling presence of our sweet Holy Spirit. He is the Lover of our soul. As we focus on Him, we find satisfaction beyond the would can give.
Loretta asked me whether I regretted my decision to leave the pastoral ministry after attending Walter’s installation service. My answer was a definite ‘no.’ I was thankful that God had used me and shaped me through my years as a pastor in Cumberland. Now, I felt that my Master desires to use me to support His work in global missions. And I gladly accepted His deployment. After all, a soldier's responsibility was to obey the command of his superior. If not, the morale of the troop would be in chaos and it would definitely fail their missions at the end. Who are we to tell God how He should use our lives? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use (Rom 9:20b-21)? During the installation service, I was really excited for Walter to become the new Senior Pastor of our church. I will miss the team and the leaders who worked closely with me for all these years. But I don’t miss the position to be the commander in chief at all. I am happy to take a subordinate position in my team at GOI.
Just as Walter said in the installation service, it was His love that drove us to do what He wanted us to do. It is also His grace that empowers us to become channel of His blessings to people around us. Since we freely receive this precious gift from above, therefore we freely give ourselves to Him and to others. We don’t give in order to get or expect anything in return. This is Paul’s attitude regarding his relationship with the church of Corinth. “What I want is not your possessions but you… If I love you more, will you love me less” (12:14-15)? This kind of unconditional love was the element that had turned the world upside down in human history. Jesus came to demonstrate this kind of love by dying on the cross before his disciples could really love Him back or do anything for Him.
Since some Christians in the church of Corinth still could not understand this kind of love, and still operated on a human perspective or paradigm – a self-centered mindset, therefore they criticized Paul for being too proud to ask for their financial support in his missions. As a matter of fact, it is hard for missionary to ask for support from any Christian community. It is truly a humble pie for us to ‘beg’ for other’s financial support as though we are incapable to make our own living. Many of our missionaries had quitted their high pay career to serve as missionary. Materialistically speaking, these missionaries were affluent but entered into simplistic lifestyle for the sake of God's Kingdom. They were not a group of lazy people but those who choose to live for a higher call. I felt bad when I saw how some of their families had suffered when their financial support did not come in according to their plan or promises.
Please remember your missionaries who labor in foreign land on your behalf because we are all part of the kingdom of God. They want to remain faithful in the front line no matter how little financial support they may have received. Will you be faithful to God in supplying the needs of His servants in the mission’s fields as well?
Just as what Paul said in chapter 8 of 2 Corinthians, “Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: ‘He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little’" (8:13-14). I hope you will remain as a good and faithful steward to better manage your finance for His Kingdom's work, especially during this depression time of our economy. Pouring your money to the stock market proved to be in vain and risky. But investing in the Kingdom of God will always yield high result and the fruits will last forever.
Hope you have a wonderful day to be His good steward in wherever you are.
Love you in Christ,

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