Monday, February 25, 2019

Giving & Waiting

I suppose I am well-trained in waiting. I waited for 9 months before my Ranau's pastorate came through. That's 5 years back. Now I have been waiting for about 3 months without much direction where my future may lie. Not that I am short of offers. It came in pairs. One ministry position I turned down within 24 hours and I am glad yesterday I met my superior in church and conveyed my decision to him. He was most kind to say that he would look at finding something nearer to home. I don't know whether I want to move out of Kota Kinabalu. The whole of last year the Lord laid in my heart a burden for this growing city of close to 1 million people and about 900,000 cars. Cars are a necessity here without good public transport and if there are buses, unreliable and perhaps unsafe as well.
One church member yesterday introduced her son to me. He is in Form 1 and I did not tell him that I counselled his parents before they got married. One couple also greeted me with the mother carrying a baby. My memory was not great and I could not remember his name nor his occupation but I chatted with them. I was the one that arranged their wedding and now they have four children. Another member sympathised with me that I did not want to up to Ranau again. She was frank to the point - "Pastor, how old are you?" I don't get asked that often. When I told her my age, she replied that it was retirement age (55 years) and it was tough travelling up and down the mountain at that age. Her family comes from a village near the foot of the mountain and I met her mother during my End-time seminar there last year.

About giving, I listened to one sermon two Sundays ago on 2 Corinthians 8-9. I was encouraged that at least they picked the right passages to preach on giving instead of Malachi 3 which is under the Law in the old covenant. Funny, preachers pick and choose what commandments they want from the OT to suit their own agendas and purposes. But sadly, the preacher a layman only explained about giving willingly but did not touch on the rich theology concerning giving from these two chapters of Paul's letter. The Malay translation also messes it up a little as it is not consistent in translating the word, "charis" (grace) throughout the two chapters which is the key word on giving.

Giving is an act of grace; only those who experience God's grace is enabled to give as God wills it, willingly, cheerfully and sacrificially. As they look at God's grace in the giving of Jesus Christ to us for our salvation, though He was rich He became poor for our sakes, we will give generously out of God's blessings which is His grace to us.

As I read this morning, Jesus praised the widow for giving two copper coins (Mark 12:43-44) and Jesus was rather non-plussed about the rich for they give out of their abundance, not that is wrong in anyway but it does not hurt their pockets. But the widow gave all her livelihood. Did you ever wonder how the widow could sustain her living when she has given all to God and nothing left to herself? Did not Jesus say, "Your Father in heaven knows; He who feeds the birds in the air, shall He not care for His children whom He loves dearly?

Yesterday, the preacher mentioned how difficult for Christians to live well in the light of the cost of living and the struggles to earn a living in Sabah. I wanted to shout out that the promise or the secret is this - "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt 6:33). That's why I am waiting and I am still waiting because all I care is God's kingdom be advanced through my life and ministry. If I do His will, all my cares and worries are left at the foot of the cross for Jesus' grace is more than sufficient to those who trust in Him.

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