“You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound” (Psalm 4)
I want to talk to you directly and personally about financial giving. In February, my beloved father went to be with the Lord. As a teenager, if I ever wanted something material which my parents would not provide, I would torment my mother, saying that my father “should not provide such generous support to the missionaries, but should look after his own family properly”. It was guaranteed to upset her.
The funeral for my father was conducted by Michael Ross-Watson – a retired missionary. It was only revealed by Michael at my father’s funeral, that during the 10 years in the 1970s and 80s, when he and Esther were engaging in pioneering and dangerous church planting in virulently anti-Christian islands in Indonesia, my father had provided 50% of his financial support. Michael, Esther and a handful of missionaries, played a leading part in growing the number of Christians in Indonesia from a frightened handful to a conservative estimate of 64 million and rising.
Last month, Michael, too, went to be with his Lord. Sometimes, when I grieve for my father, I think of the glory of heaven, and these two dear friends rejoicing as they meet. I also think of those 64 million believers, as they arrive one by one to meet the Saviour who died for them, and – dare I presume? – thank two people, whose spiritual and financial work for God, played a part in bringing them to faith and filled their hearts with that “greater joy”.
Today begins our planned giving appeal campaign. Don’t give because an organisation needs the resources. Give because in Jesus Christ, God gave first to us. Give to save others. Give because we have that “greater joy” and we believe in eternity. Now, I’m nearer eternity myself, I’m glad my father didn’t waste the money on a new set of training shoes for his teenage son…
Yours in Christ,
David (Vicar – David Hall)