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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Money, money, money!

One of the major news stories of the week, thus far, is the winning of £56 million (and 20p!!) by a couple from Gloucestershire. They have been featured in all of the national media and, as far as I can make out from the interviews held with them, they are a level-headed pair who will not simply squander this fortune that is actually beyond my full comprehension.

However, hearing of the win set me thinking. What would I do with £56 million (we'll ignore the 20p!)? Particularly at my age, I wouldn't need very much of it. Indeed, I reckon that a number of Christian ministries and organisations would be pleasantly surprised. I would happily write out a cheque for £10 million each for Release International, Open Doors, and Christian Solidarity Worldwide - three organisations that support the persecuted church in over 50 countries in the world today. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) would also receive a cheque for £10 million as theirs is a high-cost ministry with the upkeep of aircraft, and the cost of fuel.

We have sponsored children for many years, so £3 million would be set up as a Trust Fund with World Vision to provide support for as many children as possible. ICC (International Christian College) is the descendant of the Bible Training Institute and would receive £2million to set up a Trust Fund to support overseas students in their studies. Aware of the benefits of Christian radio work, I would send a cheque for £2 million each to FEBA, and HCJB - two international ministries who beam the Gospel message into places where it is difficult for a physical missionary to work. As we have a particular fondness for France, I would give £1 million to Mission France; and another £1 million to GLO for its work in that country. The Preshal Trust would also receive £1 million in order to fulfil May Nicholson's vision of a purpose-built Centre for that work.

If I have been calculating correctly, that comes to £52 million. I would provide smaller cash boosts to a number of other organisations, to the tune of £3 million. The remaining £1 million (and 20p!) would ensure that my daughters had their mortgages, and any other outstanding debts, cleared; that my dear wife and I had a long holiday during which she would not have to lift a finger; and would ensure some extra income to supplement our pensions.

See! It doesn't take long to dispose of £56 million (and that 20p!). So, knowing how I would use it, why doesn't the Lord arrange for me to receive that kind of instant income? It seems, to me, to be a not unreasonable question!

Actually, I suspect that I already know the answer! I suspect that too many of us, if provided with such sums of money would lose some of our trust in the Lord to be our Provider. I fear that faith would be weakened, and trust transferred to a bank account.

I know that there are wealthy believers - both in the pages of the Bible, and in contemporary society - but I honestly believe it requires a special grace to handle such riches. In the meantime, I believe that I am called to be a good steward of all that the Lord has, in His wisdom, entrusted to me. For me, that starts with the tithe (10%), and goes on to the Love Gift (that's between the Lord and me!). Indeed, when I think of it, if every believer gave like that, then there probably wouldn't be any need for large donations to any genuine ministry. So, rather than be despondent that I don't have £56 million, and 20p, I'll simply thank the Lord for His constant provision of all that I need, and my ability to support His work in the world in accordance with the way in which He has blessed me.

However, if He ever does decide to bless me with £56 million (with, or without, the 20p) ... ... ...!!!!!!

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