The Prodigal Dollar

God uses people. God did provide. But that little rascal dollar went walkabout. He went to the diner and bought that one burger too many.  And it shows now. Not to mention the shake.

That little prodigal dollar flew ate 30,000′ and went to Las Vegas. There is went to serve Mammon, Ceres and Bacchus.

The prodigal dollar went camping, it went shopping and it basted yet another turkey. Is it not time for that little dollar to repent and return, to take up duty in the Father’s kingdom?

Can you imagine how glad we missionaries will be to see that dollar come home?

Paul wrote ahead of his visits, I understand as much as two years in advance, to allow churches to collect funds so that ministry could be paid for and poorer fellow Christians in other countries could be provided for.  I am going to list a few references here; there are many Scripture references that one could study but these are just a cursory glance.

Collection for the oppressed in Jerusalem

More on the Jerusalem Collection – Guidelines

Macedonian Generosity Despite Poverty

Generosity as Love – 1 John 3:17 & more

From Exodus already we see that generosity is almost a prerequisite and that faith without works is just dead. We also see that much is done to look after the needs of fellow Christian believers first, before looking after non-believers.  This principle runs through the entire Bible but many do not understand it.

Even so, Paul also warned against a certain group of leather tanners who wanted salaries but were too lazy to work. Laziness should not be supported.

Levites did not own land and, after age fifty, had to do only temple service. They were not even allowed to earn an income.  Today, such “Levites” are those in God’s service, the people building or maintaining the Temple which, in today’s terms, refer to fellow believers.

Missionaries, such on the Logos Hope ship, have to ask for donations from friends, family and fellow believers, just like Paul wrote letters to ask for donations. We all try to pay our way but some cannot, due to various circumstances ranging from practical considerations to disability.

I thought it was cruel when our adopted missionary had her allowance cut by a donor, as he thought that her cheap, basic lip ice was a cosmetic luxury. She was deployed in a very arid desert region, with a full-scale military offense in progress all around her. Yet the one donor or sponsor insisted that she send receipts for all her expenses, including her monthly girlie bathroom provisions. Back then, especially in our culture, nobody would mention the “phases of the moon” and the items to manage that natural cycle in public. It was private and hugely embarrassing yet the poor girl had to report on every little detail. We also sponsored here and never request an report back; it was given as a gift and what she did with it, was none of my business.  When I lost my job to the onset of my own disability, my biggest loss was the joy of giving.

There came a day when the lightning hit the telephone line connected to her laptop and fried her PCMCIA modem as well as its port. With some of my very last money that I had left, I bought her an external modem which was fast, back in the day, at 56kbps (the geeks will laugh now!) and I cannot recall whether it was a later serial connection or still a parallel port adapter. USB was really not mainstream and laptops would go through another generation before they shipped with that.  Also, I drove a few hundred kilometers to get to where she was then.

I was really shocked to see her, as she was just skin & bones after a few very hard years in conditions that any military’s special forces such as pathfinders would find seriously challenging.  Where she was operational to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, was where the British SAS and US Pathfinders were deployed ahead of US Marines.

A skinny young girl, all alone, in an environment where a lady could be killed for walking on a street!

Little did I foresee that I would also become a shunned, rejected, ousted and, at some point, a persecuted missionary myself. Persecuted not by the Gestapo or KGB, but in a similar way, even by the churches we attended.  Burn These Bridges

A few weeks ago, a pastor promised us a substantial sponsorship from a business deal and told us it was safe to plan around it. When the day came, June 24, 2016, he called to say he had walked away from it all and gave no reasons.  We were devastated as political unrest, rioting, arson and damage to our only transportation, an already unreliable train service, had done much to break our backs financially.  His failure to perform was the very last straw.

Over the past week, a pastor friend wanted to meet up with me , as he suggested that I should co-pastor his church, travel abroad with him and also get involved in his church’s missions division. Training missionaries, providing logistical support and using my excellent, proven organizational skills would have been an asset. He postponed at around 11pm at night and totally ignored our 9am breakfast meeting of today.

This inconsistency and unreliability of church leaders really is something needing to be addressed. We as freelance missionaries get derailed and sabotaged, as we are utterly dependent upon the grace of others.

A true story:  God told a missionary to wait at the quayside for the ship to depart; He would send someone with the travel fare. The missionary obeyed, the ship could not wait longer and departed. It was the missionary’s absolute last chance to go to that remote island nation.  The next day, the wealthy procrastinating friend showed up, apologized for procrastinating and gave the missionary the exact amount in cash – but a day late.

It was too late, his mission was ruined and thousands of people God wanted to reach, were now without a messenger with the Good News.  We see this sad situation from Genesis to Revelation, all the many failures by man.  No, it does not work together for the good as that verse only means that things work right for those who obey His Spirit.

We are still devastated and our landlady called from Australia today, as we are some US$950short in rent, causing her, a widow endless trouble. We are embarrassed, we take the blame, yet our failure lies in the unreliability of two pastors who did not even have the decency to call and explain.

Don Francisco – Steeple Song

Now please read Luke 10 and 1 John 3:17-18

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