It’s a blessing to work at Praise International. Every day I am reminded of how God works through these men of God, serving God faithfully in such difficult circumstances.
It gives me pause. We have it so good here in the United States. It’s so easy to take it all for granted. This morning I read chapters Proverbs 18-21. There was a lot of encouraging things in there. Concerning my work at Praise International, a couple principles caught my attention.
Proverbs 19:17 is the Praise International theme verse.
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD
and He will repay him for his good deed.”
Wow! Showing compassion to the needy is like lending to Jehovah!!! Being merciful toward those in difficulty, as our Father in heaven is merciful, is an investment into God’s Treasuries. It has Eternal Dividends. That’s incredible!!! Praise International does this in regards to materially poor pastors and their families in impoverished countries of the world. I’m sure each of us can think of ways to personally apply this principle.
Another verse this morning was Proverbs 21:17a.
“He who loves pleasure will become a poor man.”
Ouch! Loving pleasure brings neediness? I felt defensive. I don’t consider myself materialistic. Yet I do like things and activities that give pleasure. Is that wrong? I love and serve the Lord! Is enjoying pleasurable things really going to leave me wanting? … wanting, wanting. Oops! The word “wanting” ricocheted inside my cranium. It’s so easy to always want more, isn’t it? To NEVER have enough, to never be really satisfied.
It reminded me of a conversation that I had with Samy, a young Romanian pastor and his wife, Tatiana, during a mission trip.
Samy spoke broken English. Making conversation I asked, “What do you and Tatiana do for entertainment?”
Samy replied, “What is that word, entertainment?”
“Well, when you and Tatiana are tired and you want to do something fun. What do you do for fun?”
“What is that word, fun?”
“Well, it is something to do that gives you pleasure.”
Before Samy answered that question, I knew what his response would be and wondered why in the world I had asked those questions.
“What is that word, pleasure?”
It dawned on me. Samy and Tatiana, like most pastors in these extremely poor countries, don’t have the notion we Americans have: “Now let’s stop [fill in the blank] for a while, relax and have some FUN.” After that rather awkward conversation, I was actually concerned that I had inadvertently injected a “pleasure drug” into Samy’s mind.
My devotions time was a warning: Don’t pendulum swing between lover of work and lover of pleasure, rather be a lover of God. Also, Don’t assume that people who have all the material things they “need” are better off than the materially poor people who supposedly “need” to have material things.
Kandee and I are full-time missionaries with Praise International and we live solely on charitable donations. Even though the monthly donations we have are not what we felt we needed, we must remind ourselves that God’s definition of need is much different than ours.
See what you think of this. I think that our greatest need before God is to:
1) stop regularly and worship at Jesus’ feet, as Mary did …and all these things shall l be added to us; and
2) go and proclaim the good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, and deliverance to the oppressed, as Jesus did …and we will receive Eternal Dividends.
Thanks for your prayers for my wife and me. More importantly, remember to pray for Pastor Samy and other Romanian pastors, also for all pastors who serve the Lord in impoverished countries, in difficult and often dangerous situations.