Four Stories: Practicing Scriptures is Treasure From Older Generation Christians

A man walks along a path of rocks and coins in the mountain toward the cross.
A man walks along a path of rocks and coins in the mountain toward the cross.
By Steve Sun December 27th, 2023

“Today, many pastors can talk the talk on stage while failing to be testimonies or role models for believers off stage. Pastors walking the walk are more important than preaching sermons," addressed an anonymous pastor from a city in East China.

Recently, when talking about the topic of the church’s role models, this pastor shared four stories that happened to the Christians around him in the past 30 years.

A layperson’s devotion in a rural church

Back in the rural church in my hometown, there is an elderly female believer whose family runs a business renting out tables, chairs, and kitchen utensils for banquets. One year, their business wasn’t as good as in previous years but picked up as the New Year approached. Her son cheered up, “We can have a comfortable New Year.” She immediately replied, “Don't even think about it. Our dedication to the church was too little in the first half of the year due to our low income. I need to make up for the previous lack as our income increased.” Though lacking education, biblical knowledge, or advanced theological teachings, this elderly female believer casts her love, fear, and dedication to God into her devotion to the church, which is not the teaching in the textbook.

The tithing of a couple who serves in the church full-time

A young couple who were full-time church staff had a total monthly salary of 2,000 yuan in the early years. However, out of worry about the young couple using up the money too soon, the pastor decided to pay 1,000 yuan first for their monthly living expenses, with the remaining half of each month saved and paid until they returned to their hometown for the New Year. At that time, the living expenses of 1,000 yuan a month were very limited, let alone the fact that they had a daughter. Regarding the tithing, they believed it should be dedicated to the Lord despite the struggles. The husband said, “Honestly, 100 yuan is not too much, but it was quite considerable for a family of three over a decade ago. It was hard to decide for the first time, but I gained more confidence when facing the test of money in the future as I overcame it for the first time.”

“How can I explain donating the 100 yuan that isn’t mine?”

Brother Xu, a theological student, received 100 yuan for assisting with the purchase of religious books for a believer in his hometown about 30 years ago, when life conditions were not very pleasant for the majority. On a Sunday, Xu visited his rural classmate, whose family was in poor condition. He felt moved to give this family 100 yuan that did not belong to him. As he struggled, a voice came to him: "Give it out, and I will pay you back fourfold." When he returned to the seminary the next day, he bumped into a pastor's wife, whom he knew. She quickly placed 200 yuan into Brother Xu's pocket and walked away. On his way to school on the third day, Xu noticed a person walking from a distance but couldn't identify him. He also put something in his pocket and left. It was another 200 yuan. This 400 yuan became his firsthand experience of God's faithfulness and mercy.

Selling popsicles and cattle to support ministry 

Twenty years ago, the church in my hometown was planning to send a pastor to another province who could not afford the travel expenses at the time. A church pastor sold his family's only cattle for several hundred yuan and donated it for the pastor's travel expenses.

Another preacher, who planned to serve in Northeast China, sold popsicles to earn travel expenses as there was no salary for serving in the church. His wife and children farmed at home after he left, with nearly 100 believers helping farm the three acres of his family's land subsequently. When he returned, he saw that God had taken care of everything.

- Translated by Poppy Chan

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