By Dr. Richard B. W. Ing
April 23, 2007
So long as Adam and Eve trusted God and depended entirely on Him for their sustenance and welfare, all went well. When they decided to become independent of God and to rely on their own abilities and knowledge, they were kicked out of the garden of Eden, fell out of fellowship with God, struggled to live, and ultimately died in their sins. The Lord said, “…(C)ursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground . . . .” Gen. 3:17-19. From that point on, they had to live by the sweat of their brow. Most men have struggled to support themselves and their families since then. So long as man is separated from God, he has to live by his own abilities and talents and worry about his income.
One of the things that Jesus did when He came to earth to die on the cross was bring us back into a relationship with God wherein we learn to depend wholly on the Lord for everything. Jesus said:
Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore, take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Mt. 6:24-34.
You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. In order to truly serve God, you need to trust Him to take care of all of your needs. If you seek the kingdom of God first, He promises to take care of all your needs.
A HARD LESSON TO LEARN
In the Philippines, countless pastors and Christians have a “slave mentality” that focuses on money from others as the only means of success. While there, many come to us asking for money. When we return from the Philippines, we receive letters and e-mail messages asking for money. There is such a focus on money that we strongly suspect that many Christians have not reached that level with God where they depend on Him entirely. Their relationship with God is at a lower level and their service to Him is limited.
Then, too, many Christians in our church and all over America have also never entered into that realm of trust and faith in God. Most Christians still rely on their own talents and abilities to earn a living and to meet their needs. They continue to “sweat it out.” We are not advocating that you quit your job and do nothing, we are saying that If you put God first in everything, God will provide for you. Unless you enter into that realm of trust and faith, you can only be used sparingly by God. Without faith, you cannot please God. Heb. 11:6.
A WOMAN THAT TRAVELED ON GOD’S PROVISION
I met a registered nurse from Malaysia in Fiji. Her name was Margaret. She was of Indian descent. Margaret told me how she left her job when God called her to the mission field. Whenever God told her to go somewhere, she would trust Him for her provision. Several times she would go to an airport without money to buy a ticket. While in line, someone would come up and give her the money for the ticket. Often, it was someone in a church she just ministered in. One woman said, “The Lord told me to give you this money but I hesitated in church. This morning, He told me loud and clear to come to this airport and give you the money!”
Margaret would travel without knowing if anyone would meet her. Once, she went to Jakarta, Indonesia and nobody was there to greet her. So, she got out of the airport and as she waiting at a traffic light, a woman approached her and asked if she was from Malaysia. It turned out that God had given the woman a dream a week before that an Indian woman was coming from Malaysia to minister at her church for three months. Three months later, God called her to Fiji. Someone in the church in Jakarta gave her the exact amount needed to get to Fiji. Margaret lives on a level with God that few experience and enjoy.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES
I have no intention of building myself up; but there were definite times when God provided for me miraculously. When I became born-again on September 23, 1983, I plunged into studying the Bible and praying. I totally let my law practice go and my income plunged to one-fifth of what it was. I didn’t really care. I barely covered my expenses and had to borrow money from a bank to cover my living expenses since my trust in God was not yet complete.
My automobile was over ten years old and falling apart. I began to pray and ask God for a new car. My children wanted an American car, a Buick no less. “What does it cost?” I asked. “Fifteen thousand,” was the reply. I asked God for $15,000. Two weeks later, a Mr. Smyth from Los Angeles called me. He had been the originator of a corporation in Hawaii and had made me a 20% holder in lieu of attorney’s fees. But the company failed to obtain the proper government approvals and lay dormant for two years. “I want to buy your 20% ,” Mr. Smyth said, “I made lots of money last year and need some losses to write off. How much do you want?” I was just about to say, “$500,” when he said, “I’ll give you $15,000.” I quickly agreed.
Later, I found that the Buick would actually cost $18,500. At 4:30 p.m. one day after I received the $15,000, I told my wife, “I’m going to write to Roberts and Redfield in Oregon. Maybe I can get a cheaper price. After all, we got our previous car from them.” The very next morning we came to the office at 8:30 a.m. There was a call on my answering machine from Roberts and Redfield. “I thought you were going to write them. How come you called them instead?” my wife asked. “I didn’t call them,” I answered, “I don’t know why they’re calling.” To make a long story short, Roberts and Redfield had a legal problem and remembered me from over ten years before. “The general manager, said, “We know a lot of attorneys in Hawaii, but your name kept coming up.”
I took a total of only one and one-half hours to handle their legal problem.
As a result, they gave me a Buick Park Avenue for $15,000 and added $4,000 of extras – all leather seats, a Bose sound system, complete 8-way remote on the front seats and side mirrors, etc. All I did was pay the $450 shipping fee.
God had someone give me the $15,000 and when it was not enough, had Roberts and Redfield hire me and give me a car worth over $22,000 for only $15,000. I could handle the shipping costs.
A $52,000 DEBT PAID OFF
I borrowed $52,000 from the then Honolulu Federal Savings and Loan. My friend was working there. He called one day and said, “My boss said that you have to pay it off because we’ve been rolling it over for five years already. But, I’ve arranged a loan for you at Central Pacific Bank. After one year, we can give you a new signature loan for $52,000 and pay CPB off. I prayed and said, “Lord, I thought you said that if we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things will be added to you? Please pay off my $52,000 loan.”
Within a few days, a real estate broker friend, Mr. Lui, asked me out for lunch. We had ox-tail soup at Kam Bowl. He said, “I want to show you a property in Kalihi Valley. It’s 6-1/2 acres with 21 homes on it.” “I don’t have any clients,” I said. “Never mind,” he replied, “I treated you to lunch, so you have to go see it at least.” We saw the property and I returned to my office.
The very next morning a real estate broker by the name of Mr. Sykes dropped in. “Let’s go have coffee,” he said. During coffee, he said, “I have a client who is looking for a property at least 3-1/2 acres to build a church.” By 5:00 p.m. that day, the Board of Directors approved the purchase of the property. There were some problems and maneuverings, but in the end, the deal was closed. My commission? – exactly $52,000!
My two oldest children wanted to go to law school at the same time. I could barely dig up the $1,500 deposit for my daughter who was accepted by the University of Oregon. The total tuition was $7,500. My son went to Syracuse, a private law school. The deposit was $1,500 and the total tuition was $17,500. I arranged for a loan from my friend at Honolulu Federal Savings and Loan. He said, “Tell your kids to find out the total cost and call you back. We should do just one loan instead of two.”
My son called back and said, “Dad, we don’t have to pay the rest. I got a scholarship.” “Did you apply for one? I asked. “No, they just picked me,” he answered. One week later, my daughter went to Eugene, Oregon. She called back and said, “Dad, we don’t have to pay the rest. Every year they pick thirty students to waive the out-of-state fee. I was chosen.”
Aside from the original deposit, and the lower tuition for residents of Oregon, I didn’t have to pay any more tuition for three years. We had to pay for other things such as books, food and board, but the kids were able to get student loans and I was able to sell a property I had on the Big Island. God doesn’t necessarily pay for everything; but He makes it possible to make it through with the remaining resources we have. God is good!
I have many other stories of how God paid my bills and covered our expenses. My wife has gone to the Philippines 33 times. I didn’t want the church to pay for her airfare. Thirty-three times, someone has donated the money for her airfare. Once, an outside organization wrote a check for her airfare. Each month, my neighbor who doesn’t even attend church, donates at least $200 to cover my wife’s airfare. Other people also donate specifically for her airfare.
IN THE PHILIPPINES
We didn’t have the money to build the mission house, Bible College and two vocational training centers. But each time, God would have someone donate money to cover the expenses. Twice we needed vans and twice people donated the money to buy the vans.
When God tells you to do something, He covers the cost. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.