Friday, May 14, 2021

Jacob’s Wealth

Jacob gave to his brother almost a third of his wealth (Gen 32:15) when they met on his way back to Bethel. Jacob became a very wealthy man because God had blessed him. Although Jacob was cheated ten times by his father-in-law, God made sure that Jacob did not leave Midian any worse but Jacob returned with two camps with a multitude of cattle, herds of cows and camels and many men and female servants. “Blessings are on the head of the righteous” (Prov 10:6) and “the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Prov 10:22). Maybe Jacob wanted to repay his brother whom he cheated out of his birthright or his immediate fear that he could be harmed if he did not placate his brother who came with 400 men to meet him. David had 400 men and it was a guerrilla force that even King Saul had to contend with.

But Jacob’s wealth was that God was with him and was with him throughout his life, his 20 years working for wages in a foreign land and when he returned, his neighbours must have respected Jacob because they saw how his God had blessed him. Sometimes, honour and respect are important ingredients in a pastor’s testimony. Which unbeliever will respect a person who is always scrapping to make a living or earning minimum wages? Even my extended family began to listen to me when I served in Singapore. My sister in law was impressed that I could find employment in Singapore after 14 years as a SIB pastor. The Bahasa pastors regrettably do not give much a testimony to the outside world. Though I have served among them now in my 27th year, I know it will be my main task if given an opportunity to raise their standard of living. As for me, I would never do what my successor in the Ranau’s pastors fellowship did. When mountain guides were killed in the Ranau earthquake in 2015, we raised funds and helped a bereaved family. But recently, when an Assemblyman visited the pastors, the Chair could only ask the politician to fund a mission trip. It is more blessed to give than to receive but for that the pastors need to be blessed financially. 

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