Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Living by Faith and Faith Alone

How our Christian forefathers live by faith is intriguing. They talked of, prayed to and depended upon only God and God alone. Making none of their requests known, except through kneeling and constant praying, they struggled with the demons of envy, anxiety and concerns about how God's ministry can be met. Mother Teresa never canvass for funds, and forbade her followers from doing any of it as well, taking on a policy of becoming the 'poorest of the poor'. Several missionary organizations started with the basic premise that "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply." The Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF formerly CIM) founder James Hudson Taylor is remembered for his faith in depending on God for all his providence in his ministry to China. Operation Mobilization started with prayer from a faithful woman, depending only on God.

George Mueller also prayed for entire providence., and he is often called the man of faith. It was said of Mueller that he never made his needs known to others, but waited for God to put the needs in the hearts of people.

Closer to this century, I was also impressed with the testimony of an unnamed contributing editor to ChristianityToday, who penned a recent article entitled "My Conversation with God." He concludes that an experience of God's faithfulness touches the heart deeper than intellectual knowledge. Faith is put to the test when we venture into the wilderness of loneliness, and yet to be met needs. We experience feelings of being forsaken and have to depend on a delayed fulfilment of a promise. "Living by Faith" and not by sight is something many Christians SAY they want to have. How they live is another matter altogether.

Having stayed in Vancouver for the past 2.5 years, we are experiencing what it means firsthand to live by faith. It is also an attempt to enter in some small ways into that spiritual pilgrimage experienced by Mother Teresa, George Mueller and James Hudson Taylor. Mustard Seed Faith. Some of the hazards of ministry is to learn to live without an assurance of a fixed salary. Imagine getting a monthly cheque that looks like the one below?

PAY TO: Servant of God
AMOUNT: $Zero to ???????????

That is faith living. We never know how much we will get. Some people say that such is the same with those who are self-employed and who struggle with their businesses without knowing where their income is going to come. I might say that there is however a difference. Faith ministry does not openly canvass for funds. In small businesses, there is some level of soliciting businesses openly and through the network. In faith ministry, what we do know is a minimum of $0. Faith is thus, IN SPITE OF not knowing how we are going to make ends meet each month, we still believe that God will provide. How? We do not know.

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