Those of you who have known me a long time will know that I’m one of those ‘odd-balls’ who (and HOW I hate this expression, but it’s the one the church seems to use!!) ‘lives by faith’. The truth is, we ALL live by faith, whether it’s in ministry, like me and countless others: or in a job: as an employer (who lives by faith not only for himself, but for his employees!).
What it means for me is, that I trust God for provision in every area of my life: I have no ‘known’ income. Why am I writing this today? Well, there’s a great reason!
When I left school at 18, mum – already a widow then for 6 years – couldn’t afford to ‘keep’ me through university (even though in those days, we got grants, they were never enough), so I went to work, in a bank (you might remember I failed Maths ‘O’ level 5 times!! – got a grade 6 pass – the lowest pass grade – at the 6th attempt, 3 years into my banking career!). To be honest, I hated it: but it was (then) one of the most secure jobs you could have, job for life unless you put your hand in the till for the wrong reason!), cheap mortgage (commercial mortgages – then – were around 11-12%, mine was 2½%), and a good pension….I knew after about 4-5 years that God was ‘on my case’ wanting me to leave, to work alongside the guy I’d got saved through, Clive Calver: but I liked the security of salary, subsidised mortgage and other loans, and the pension…. I argued with God for 5 years…. 🙁
When I finally realised that God wasn’t going to give up, get off my case, and that I’d spend my life hating the job more and more, being more and more unhappy as I knew what God wanted, but was afraid to do it ‘just in case it didn’t work out’…. how many of us have not seen God’s best for us because of that particular argument, I wonder? I read, many years ago, this quote (I don’t even remember who said it, but it was a life-changing turning point): ‘The passion that causes us to achieve HAS to be strong enough to make us uncomfortable‘ ….found a similar one, which I posted on Facebook a few days ago:
Here’s why I’m posting this….!
Tomorrow, January 18th, 1979, was the date I received my last-ever pay cheque, from the bank! 35 years of God’s abundant faithfulness, and I’m not anorexic-looking to prove it! It’s not just the provision for daily needs that God has come up with – food, bills, clothes, etc: it’s all the years (28 this year) of travel, airline tickets, expenses when I’m away… you know, this is testimony to God’s goodness, and not a boast, I can promise you – but I’ve been to Romania 127 times, the USA over 100 times (and, of course, the last 5 years of the USA and NOT being able to get there! cost a fortune), Colombia 60 times+ (Cali alone 51 times), Mexico (I think next month’s visit will be) 30 times, Africa goodness know how many times, Australia double figures, India the same….106 countries altogether….
And who am I to have been ‘selected’ for this blessing? No one, not famous (don’t want to be): just a Son of the Living God, who fulfils ALL of his promises (2 Cor 1:20) to the glory of God. If you had any idea how much fear there was in me back at the start of 1979, you would have said – and so would I – that following God’s call wouldn’t last long…but here, today, sitting in my house that God has provided rent for (in excess of £20,000 since I came here – £20,000 I DIDN’T HAVE, and still don’t have the required £400 a month until I know the landlord – a friend, which makes it impossible to avoid the rent!! – needs it….
35 years. About 60% of my WHOLE life….God has been faithful. In 1 Samuel 7:12, Samuel, in making an altar to the Lord, said ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us’. The unspoken add on to that is – ‘If God’s helped us up until now, he’ll go on helping us’. I can genuinely say that has been my story up until now: and I know, that unless God has other plans, it will be the story in the years ahead. I’m 61 years old now: humanly speaking, looking forward (hmm!) to retirement in 4 years. Humanly speaking, I CAN’T retire in 4 years, as my bank pension – which I just can’t WAIT to receive! – is £10 a week (based on 9½ years service), and my state pension: that’s it. It’s a good job I don’t WANT to retire, huh?
God’s faithfulness has continued right through the current era of recessions: even though my regular ‘committed’ support has dropped by a good 50% over the last 5 years. I have a few people occasionally ‘bend my ear’ telling me I ought to ‘charge’ a daily ‘fee’ to the places I go: often bandied about is a figure like £300 a day, plus expenses, going up to – well, the sky’s the limit from some people! My reading of God’s call ‘to go’ – especially as it’s mostly very poor countries that I go to – is ‘freely you have received, freely give’ – not ‘fee-ly give’!
This weekend is celebration for me: 35 years. Of course, I’d love to know that I might get more every month than I do: that’s a human reaction, of course. This might be a good point to say that if God prompts you to help me each month/year, then I’d be overjoyed. There’s a page on the website that tells you how to do that! But more than anything, your prayers are coveted, and especially prayers of thanksgiving, to a wonderful Father, whose faithfulness is proven up to now….and from now on….
Thank you, Dad…..(tears in my eyes at this point, as even now I find it overwhelming and unbelievable)…..