Thursday, July 1, 2010

Journal Entry: Jerusalem 108 AD – "Hungry Children"

Dear Journal: It is hard to believe that 40 years have passed since Paul has left us. Over forty years since that encounter he had with our Lord on the road to Damascus, followed by years of fruitful ministry and many hardships. Paul is now with the Lord in Heaven and we carry on in his place. Our lives were touched by his compassion and heartbeat. That is what drives us.

I remember Timothy telling us many of the stories about Paul, the lives he touched and the ministries he started. One of which I am carrying on still today. There are so many homeless and hungry children with no one it seems who cares. Well, actually they do. But until Paul began collecting monies from followers of The Way and strategically placing those funds where needed, many of those needs went unmet. At first, it was a few locations 'here and there', but as we've become more organized, it now seems that so many more lives are collectively impacted, on a long-term basis.

Paul passed the baton onto Timothy, and now, he to me. But here lately, I find my travels are becoming harder. This old body doesn't recover like it use to. I foresee soon how the day will come when I may be unable to perform all that is required to keep this ministry going, the long miles, the endless hours, time away from home takes its toll on a man. These sacrifices though are now well worth it for The Master. But it has played more on my mind with my wondering, "Lord, what will I do? How will my needs be met?"

This has plagued me for some time. And then one day, it was as if the Lord Himself opened my mind with a vision, or was it a revelation? I wonder, but the clarity of it became real to me of how not only to impact so many more lives, but also how to provide for myself as I grow weaker and older.

First, what has transpired since that morning in my tent is that I have obtained the help of other Believers who are also in the service for our Lord. They too are now sharing this burden to feed the homeless and hungry children around our world. Many of these Followers have become 'well known' in our Messiah's movement and have much influence. They have partnered with me, almost like a network, in spreading this much needed message to every town and village. Because of their efforts, many, many more are now helping to support, these, God's little children. What was it our Lord said, "What you do to the least of these, you do also to me", yes, that's it.

Second, these 'servants of God' in helping me further this ministry, while still performing their own calling, they too have expenses. At times they go without. I have found, by taking a 'portion' of the regular amount collected that has been 'promised to the children', and giving to 'help support and provide to offset their needs, results in the very ones who are spreading this word', motivating them and increasing the zeal of their message. This has resulted in more and more monies coming in. Thus the more they share, the more people give. The more people give, the greater their stipend. For some, the amount they receive is becoming a very substantial amount.

Yes, it is true we don't share with those who are giving to the children, that part of their grace giving goes to the actual person who is collecting those funds, but as His Word says, "They who preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel", and in reality, NOT telling the contributors causes less 'trouble' than trying to explain that to them "up-front".

Third, of course there are expenses for myself and those who serve alongside me also. Though most of the time a significant portion of what is given is still going to the children, it seems that it is taking more and more to creatively 'spread the word' into new areas, establish new overseers to distribute the food and funds, provide incomes for them, etc. At times I wonder if this is what Paul had in mind when he began all of this?

Finally, I am excited to see how this is what The Lord will use to help me retire, or rather I should say, meet all my family's needs as I enter my twilight years; or if some injury or illness prevents me from further travel. In fact, I hate to say, with the amount of monies coming in, even with supporting thousands of hungry and homeless children around the world as an international ministry, our finances will no longer be a problem. Praise Yahweh!

Recently we had the pleasure of meeting a successful businessman by the name of Demas. He shared with us that if we would use some of the proceeds to bring Elders from various cities to see our work, as well as 'honoring' the larger collectors of funds by bringing these two groups to 'the field' to visit the children and see first-hand how they have, or can, 'make a difference', that this would more than quadruple revenues coming in so we would be able to support more children. One of his slogans is, "The ends justify the means". I am not sure if this is part of Adonai's recorded words or not, but it sure makes sense, and it works.

Journal, something unusual happened the other day as I was traveling through Sinai. I met a caravan and presented them with the need we share and asked them if they would like to give. They asked me some pointed questions regarding the actual distribution of our funds. There was something in the man's eyes with whom I spoke that made me want to be honest with him, so I told him what we were doing. He thanked me, but then declined the offer! He said something about another follower of The Way, I think they said he goes by the name "Christian", he's from somewhere over around Antioch, and this man is also feeding the hungry and homeless children. He keeps no denari for himself, nor does he give any of the proceeds to others. He shared that every single coin he collects, all of it goes to the children. Any personal or ministry expense that is accrued is provided for in a different and separate way. Imagine that!

Still, there are fleeting moments I question if what we are doing is truly ethical and completely honest with God's people, and before our Lord. After all, what if those that were distributing the funds and food to the children did it simply because they loved the Lord? What if others in God's family would present this without remuneration because that is simply what our Lord would have done? What if we trusted God to provide in some other way rather than 'robbing', maybe I should say 'taking', a portion out of the mouths of these children? What if every denari that someone gave really, completely went to the children? I wonder how many more lives could we really impact and touch?

But then… When I look at all we have accomplished, when I see how "prosperous & successful" everything is, I conclude, surely this is a sign of God's blessings, isn't it? Oh well, it is working, and there are a lot more children out there who need to be fed, and there a whole lot more people who can give.

Until the next time, Journal, Shalom.

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