When I left my union job to go to Bible college, I experienced a fairly dramatic economic downturn. By the time I had earned my bachelor’s degree, I had cashed in my RHOSP (registered homeowner savings plan … sort of a precursor to RSPs), sold off two antique vehicles, my Chevy SportVan, and liquidated every other possible asset that I could.
During the course of that phase of my education, there would be the occasional testimony given in chapel where individuals would share with us all that they had “given up” to come to the halls of learning and or to serve the Lord.
At risk of sounding rather critical, I used to think as they were speaking (although I always kept these thoughts to myself), “If you feel that you have ‘given up’ so much, then why don’t you go back to that which you seem to be missing.”
You see, I have never felt that I have given anything up for God.
When I thought about the things that I had sold off, let go of, or left behind, I sensed somehow that I had gained and was trading up, and that in some way or another, God would provide for me.
I recently heard of a man who holds a similar point of view. He was a school teacher with a promising career, but he felt called into the ministry.
One of his concerns was the loss of his teacher’s pension.
Nevertheless, he resigned his teaching position, and along with his wife and young family, entered the ministry in a tiny Saskatchewan town for a small stipend.
The years that followed were ones of financial shortfall, coupled with the faithful provision of God. There was never very much coming in, but their needs were always met in dramatic and exciting ways that the family still talks about.
Some years later, as the man and his wife entered retirement, they received news that his wife’s sister had passed away. She had taught school all of her life. She had also remained single and having no dependents, she named him as the beneficiary of her pension.
The man who had left his teaching career and pension behind … now retired with a full teacher’s pension!
“Now glory be to God, who by His mighty power … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.
“May He be given glory forever and ever … through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21 TLB)
“The faith that never saws off a limb on which it is sitting, never learns that unattached limbs may find strange unaccountable ways of not falling.” — Dallas Willard
Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor of Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection