Rich in Many Ways

By AbbyA

Every now and then I like to share with you something that I didn’t conjure up in my thoughts.  Something I didn’t write, but something that has touched me deeply.  Ching Yeung Russell has written a poetic book for children (and adults alike) called Tofu Quilt about growing up poor in a village in China.  I cannot tell you much more because my little boy only allowed me to read the first twenty-five pages to him.  (He wanted to read the rest on his own).  Twenty-five pages is all I needed to be profoundly touched by one of God’s truths pounding through Russell’s words.  Take a look at the excerpt below.

I rest my chin in my hand,

my elbow on the train’s windowsill.

I am sad

and happy at the same time,

like eating a bowl of sweet and sour soup.

Ma breaks the silence

by saying,

“I know you had fun

just by looking at your suntan;

you’re as dark as charcoal.

“Tell me what you liked the most.”

“Dan lai!” I burst out,

“I wish Uncle Five

would have let me eat more than one bowl.

I didn’t have enough.”

“It’s very expensive,” Ma says.

“Why?” I ask.  “It’s just a small bowl.”

“Dan lai is the specialty of the town,” she says.

“And it is only made from one family’s secret recipe.”

“Have you tried it?”  I ask Ma.

“Yes,” she says.  “A long time ago.”

I promise Ma,

“When I grow up,

after I get rich,

I will buy you a bowl of dan lai!”

Ma smiles.

After you start going to school,

you will learn many things.

And you will be rich in many ways.”

The last phrase sliced through my spirit.  I could barely read that line out loud.  Sort of like a particular line of my dad’s eulogy.  My spirit acknowledged in a loud, internal way that I have learned that I have become rich in many ways.  Somewhat like the thousands of grains of sands that JMathis wrote about last week.  Thousands of sands rubbing against one another.  Smoothing edges, providing support.   The value of the experience of being a grain of sand in the Lord’s worthy hands makes you rich in many ways.

As this month pushes toward the third Thursday of November.  Ponder over how God has made you rich in many ways.  His omniscience measures in a manner unlike the world.  While we all are thankful for our livelihood and similar things.  See if you can go deeper for the secret value He has spun in your heart.  I don’t know what you will find.  But I have found through Russell’s poetry that there is great thankfulness in acknowledging that I, through Him, have become rich in many ways.

During Times of Uncertainty

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

So how many of you are worried about our economy? How many of you are worried about your personal economic situation? Do you worry about retirement?  If you have children, do you worry about how you’ll send them to college? Or how you’ll afford to pay for their wedding?

I’ll admit that those are concerns of mine. Heck, I’m even bothered by the prediction that China is going to overtake the U.S. as the #1 economic power in the coming years. Why? Well, there’s the obvious…we’re the U.S. and haven’t we been #1 since…like…forever? Or for at least for my entire life. And then there’s the question as to how China will choose to wield its power and influence.

 Yes, we are undoubtedly in uncertain economic times.

 In Bible times, they didn’t call it “uncertain economic” times, nor did they call it a “depression.” They called it a famine. If the weather was bad or they had no rain or too much rain, it ruined the crops, which meant they didn’t have food to eat or food to give to their animals. Famine.

 But to them and to us, God reminds us in Jeremiah 17: 7-8 that despite our worries or our current economic climate, He can and will provide for us.

 7“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.

8He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Bear fruit in times of famine and drought? Does God not know the unemployment rate right now?  Yes, but God is still promising us that those who trust in Him will continue to be able to provide for their families.  The economy may affect us, but it doesn’t affect God. He is able to bless us despite…and in some cases…because of the economy. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, that is the God we serve. Jehovah Jireh. God Our Provider.