My husband and I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1970. We anticipated helping a language group create an alphabet, grammar and a translation of the Bible. God sealed our call, in part, by touching churches and friends to offer us money as their contribution to the project. The decision made 31 years ago to trust God for our finances still affects our lives.
Living by faith isn’t always easy. Some months our wallets have been remarkably “thin.” Other months our “paycheck” displayed a number preceded by a minus sign! The temptation to worry sometimes won out. At other times, financial gifts overflowed. We rejoiced and wondered too what prompted God to touch many generous hearts. It has been a huge education: learning to trust the invisible banker – our loving Father. We learn not to whine; we learn to be content in His will for us.
We have two sons, now 20 and 18 years old. They did not choose this life; they were born into it. Now they must make their own decisions about money. One son is gladly applying the kind of laid-back faith he sees in his father. The other is a bit anxious and would rather bypass the “insecurity” of the heavenly bank. He compares our lifestyle to that of his wealthy friends and finds ours lacking. He is determined to fill his plate from the world’s buffet.
He came home one day from registering at college. He signed up for a photography course. Guess what? He needs a camera, an expensive camera. His dad looks at the check book and reluctantly accompanies his son to buy the cheapest expensive camera available. The son returns home with Dad to show the camera to Mom. He is happy with it, but knows it has put a hole in our pockets. “Just think,” he says, “if we had one-hundred grand in the bank, how easy life would be! It would solve all our problems.” Mom tries to share with son the spiritual depths of life, hope and trust while son “politely” walks away.
Later that day on the phone I share the camera incident with a colleague, a young man in his 30s. “Oh,” he said, “if I had only known! I have a very nice camera I never use. I would be glad to give it to your son.” Can it be? He comes over late that evening to present our son with a camera worth twice the price of the one we bought, including a fancy zoom lens. “Hey, man. This is great,” says my son. “Can’t we give you something for it?”
“Nah, I’m glad you can use it.”
Already dressed for bed, I listened from the bedroom and came out after the friend left. My son is utterly amazed and enthusiastically shares all the neat features of the camera with me. Grinning from ear to ear, giddy with joy and in some kind of heavenly shock, he cannot fathom why this friend would be so generous.“My son,” I said, “if you had ‘one-hundred grand,’ sure, you could have gone out and bought a camera like this one. But...you would have missed the blessing!” With a telling look, he agreed with me and bent over and kissed my cheek.