I've been thinking a lot about the goodness of God lately. About His faithfulness to us as a family and ministry since we stepped out in faith and became missionaries in 2002. A lot has happened since then. Some good and some bad, but in it all, God has been faithful. In my devotional the other morning I was led to the following scriptures in the book of Mark chapter 10.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
There are a couple of things that stood out to me in these scriptures that were applicable to my life. The young man that approached Jesus was a virtuous man, but Jesus correctly discerned that there was one thing holding him back. It was his love of riches. The young man walked away dejected because he felt like Jesus was asking too high a price.
We all have things in our lives that hold us back from God’s purposes being fulfilled in our lives. Back in 1982, when I was struggling with the decision of becoming a committed Christian, the thing that was holding me back was my friends. I was popular back then and I had a lot of really good friends that I had grown up with. But I was living a lifestyle that I knew wasn’t pleasing to God. I also knew that I was not strong enough to walk in both worlds. It would have to be one or the other. I chose Christ.
The other thing that stood out to me in these scriptures was Jesus’ reply when Peter said, “we have left everything to follow you.” I think some people reference these scriptures when talking about personal wealth. It hasn’t worked out that way for me, and personally, I don’t know any ministers with a hundred homes or anything else for that matter. But I can tell you these scriptures have come true for us.
As a ministry, we’ve been blessed to partner with many churches and groups who have built over 100 homes for the poor in Nicaragua and in return, whenever we travel, God always provides a home for us to stay in and cars to drive. We build homes for the poor and God provides homes for us - how cool is that? I told you before that I chose to give up my friends to follow Christ and now I have thousands of friends, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, all over the world. I’ve also reconnected with quite a few of my old friends on facebook and many of them are living lives of faith now. God is good! God has also given us hundreds if not thousands of children. Through our Nicaraguan rescue home that takes in children that suffer from malnutrition and our relief work in barrios, God has also allowed us to help many children over the last 8 years. We have also been blessed to place over 100 children in loving homes through adoption and foster care over the last 7 years. There have been persecutions too but God’s grace has been sufficient for every trial. To God be the glory!
Finally, I would like to say that I’m not sure why I’m writing this. It’s not really news about the ministry per se. But I really felt compelled to write it. I can’t help but believe that someone needs to read this. Your present circumstances might be like mine was or maybe like the rich young man from the scriptures. Don’t let that one thing that you’re afraid to give up keep you from the full potential and purpose God has for your life. Don’t go away dejected feeling the price is too high. God’s promises are true. Choose treasure in heaven and eternal life! You won’t regret it.