Thursday, June 27, 2019

Friendships & Sacrifice

I have had a fruitful 3 days where I wrote more than 3,000 words and now moving into chapter 12 of John's Gospel. I read somewhere that in one's old age, the most important thing is relationships with family and friends. I have tried my best to keep my side of the bargain with my family despite none of them is a believer except my niece. I made some effort to have dinner with my youngest brother when he came back from Australia recently and it was good time of catching up. Last night I invited an old friend to dinner. I saw them in church last Sunday and it must have been 5 or 6 years the last I met them. Since retired from teaching, they returned to West Malaysia but for all intents and purposes they are Sabahans as they had spent a good part of 30 years in the State. When I was pastor of my home church he was an influential deacon who served for several terms as Treasurer of the church. He was also a good preacher and teacher of God's Word. He holds a double degree in finance and management.
I did not realise the state of finances of my home church until he mentioned to me that when he took over as Treasurer just before I came in as pastor it was barely RM6,000 a month. I thought it was close to RM10,000.00 when I started. Wow! God's grace and power was amazing that it increased to more than RM20,000 per month when I left as pastor after 5 years and three months. We remember how during the 20th anniversary of the church when I was pastor, we aimed for a collection of RM20,000 for the anniversary Fund and we managed that in less than a month.  Further, it was under his financial stewardship together with another accountant that we raised more than RM300K in less than 17 months for the building of a Ministry Centre. For an indigenous church where a majority of members earned less than RM2,000 per month at that time it was a miracle and God's outpouring of His blessings. Since I invited him and his family I booked a table at a restaurant and ordered the food. When we were at the restaurant, we doubled up and at the end we had 6 dishes for 5 people. When I went to pay, he already paid more than half and he insisted he paid the balance. When we parted ways and said our goodbyes, he gave me an envelope. I did not expect the Lord's bounty. I actually went to the ATM to withdraw money to pay for the dinner but instead the Lord took care of everything and I brought home with extra leftovers. Praise God for His amazing grace for His servants. When I reflected on the Lord's goodness, I remember I made a sacrifice last Sunday in church. Just when I was about to go, a single mother waved at me and told me that her daughter was having fever. I touched the 9-year old girl's forehead and whispered a prayer. She has 6 children and five of them are still schooling, with a couple in Primary school. I gave her some money (which I did not have). I felt it when I gave it. It hurts. It is easy to give out of abundance but try giving out of poverty like the Macedonians. It was a sacrifice to God and He was well pleased and God rewarded me 10-fold!

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