16 Our Finances

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I learned when I was 21 years of age that I should give a tenth of my income to the Lord. I did it with some hesitation, because I wasn’t earning very much. My employer increased my income without asking, which was unexpected. I was in my fourth year apprenticeship, but he gave me more than I was supposed to earn in my fifth year. He may have recognised that I got to 21 and was legally entitled to it, or he may have appreciated what I was doing. I was more interested in increasing my tithing than in the increase of my income. It was a joy to me to be able to give to the Lord and I became very independent of money. Not that I didn’t appreciate it, I did. I liked saving, was eager to save because father taught us, but at the same time the interest in money vanished. So I was free from the world in that respect, and when the Lord separated me from my secular employment and I no longer had a salary it wasn’t a problem. I trusted Him and He provided. I didn’t have any discussion with Mr. Sparks or the Honor Oak fellowship concerning finances when they were endorsing my coming or going anywhere, going to India in particular. The question of finance never arose. I did expect them to pay my fare. Indeed, they did pay my fare, but apart from that there wasn’t any commitment. It didn’t bother me, I was sure the Lord was able to provide. And that has been so ever since. When Bakht Singh used to say, “Don’t give them anything, you will spoil them”, I understood that. I felt that without telling the Indian brothers and sisters they understood that Bakht Singh and I were on the same basis, trusting the Lord. Together with Bakht Singh, I served the Lord in India in this way for over 37 years.

At one time when I was in Hyderabad, I was invited by the Indian Mission, a proper mission from overseas. I was invited to come to their conference. It was the only time that I was invited sort of outside our circle. I went there and they said, “We would like you to say whatever you think. Tell us what you think.” I had done that once before in a missionary home with fifty, sixty missionaries. Afterwards one of the missionaries said to me, “You have stirred up so many snakes today, it will take twenty years to kill them.” So, when the people at this conference said, tell us what you think, I answered, “Well, I’m a bit hesitant to do that,” because of that previous experience. However, I did ask them some questions: “How is it you don’t have any Indian worker here, only the missionaries? Are they not your colleagues? Why are they not here? You are meeting and managing things independently of your fellow-workers, and that is not right.” Well they accepted it, only tolerated it perhaps. However, one of the Strict Baptists’ missionaries asked me, “How is it that all your people go everywhere?”

“Well, it’s because we don’t pay them. They are free. If you pay them, you control them.” And that was true you see, nobody of us went with any payment. Bakht Singh told me early on, don’t give these brothers anything. If you make them an obligation to you, then you spoil them. If you want to give, put it into the box. Don’t give them privately. I always observed that principle, and I never had any Indian brother suggest, in all those years, 37 years, that I should give him something. Only when I came back to India, after an absence of around ten years, a brother said to me, “Can you give me a New Testament?” The ‘second generation’! When you are prepared to give there is an important principle; some danger to avoid: “The man, who pays the piper, determines the tune.”

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