* * *
100. A great majority of the young people in our area teach English, and most of them are left with very little time for witnessing, let alone being able to build a work and do some solid follow-up. The side effects of English teaching or leaning on other sources of income that are not witnessing, tool distribution or follow-up are very debilitating and the same as always--people become weaker in faith.
101. The Lord has been promising amazing things. I truly believe that we've entered the best time of our lives and that with it will come more financial stability. I'm excited about it! I have faith in the vision and I've been preaching away about it. It's just that sometimes I've looked at the number of people who depend on some fundraising methods other than tool distribution or follow-up and it gets a little scary. I also battle in my heart and mind with the System jobs allowance in the Charter, wondering if it's entered in too strongly and has debilitated the faith of many, and generally gotten many Family members pretty tripped off.
102. I don't know how I would handle it if I was in the position of having to go through a transition from pure tool distribution or English teaching for income, to get into follow–up, pushing Activated, etc., so I don't mean to be critical. However, I still am very concerned when I see how many people have become more dependent on some source of income involving the System, other than tool distribution or witnessing.
103. One problem I see with System jobs is that it doesn't send good signals to other young people. It tends to spread like wildfire to where a good percentage of them are doing it‚ and in my opinion it's eating at them spiritually. So where do you draw the line? Now these particular people have lost a lot of faith and are becoming more and more, in my opinion, like “yuppie style missionaries.” It's kind of ironic when you compare them to our Active members who are pretty fed up with that System lifestyle. Admittedly many Active members do enjoy their independence, but they're very dedicated to the cause and are pulling OUT of the System as much as possible, so the System job question even raises questions in their minds as to what our standard of discipleship really is.
* * *
104. The Homes that have involved their young people with Activated and encourage them with the follow-up vision are the ones that are doing very well and are prosperous. Others who are not obedient to the Activated vision are struggling.
* * *
105. If you do not have steady or sufficient home support on this field, you have got to raise it here, which can be challenging and at times difficult. Nevertheless, it's not impossible if you're basically trying to follow and obey, particularly in the witnessing arena and following the latest counsel on Activated and follow-up. However, this is a very difficult thing to try to monitor in Homes these days, because under the guise of “Activating” or “witnessing,” people get involved in modeling or going for photo shoots for advertising or films, while supposedly trying to witness and win the folks that they are involved with. Those who have genuinely tried that, who have been honest with themselves and have assessed their fruit, know that trying to witness in that kind of environment takes a lot of shepherding and conviction. If you are weak in either of those arenas, you will compromise, and basically what you're there for is a System job.
106. From there, because of not really putting witnessing first or trying to obey on Activated, they compromise with going out for a drink or going out to the discos to meet some of their friends. Again this is all in the guise of going “witnessing,” but in reality there's not much fruit. There is more weakening of their spiritual walk as they get into drinking, smoking, etc., but all very secretively.
* * *
107. I've been concerned about the number of young people taking English-teaching jobs. Most of the young people's Homes we have support themselves with either some or the majority of the members teaching English.
108. I think some are weary of what they consider the “struggle” of living by faith, the insecurity or pressure of where the money will come from to pay the bills. Some look with distaste on the idea of being a tools “salesman” and they say they are “burned out” with it. It's not always viewed as a positive profession, whereas a System job has a greater element of glamour and in some ways it's easier. I think some enjoy the challenge of a System job, having to adhere to schedules and learn how to teach. For some reason they are ready to make sacrifices for a System job that they wouldn't be willing to make for the Family. (I also see this when young people go FM or leave the Family; then they buckle down to what the System demands, just because those are the rules of the game.)
109. In the case of young people's Homes, they often start out claiming that two out of four members will work so that the others can witness without being pressured for finances, but it often ends up with more and more time being invested in System jobs than witnessing. Or it's the men that work, while the women stay back with small kids. Although some of these Homes do a little witnessing or hold Bible studies, on the whole they begin to walk down the road of compromise in their lifestyle. And the example spreads to other Homes. (I'm also hearing of more older adults getting jobs, with some of the same results.)
110. Related to System jobs, a tendency I'm noticing more and more is people getting jobs in order to buy cars, computers, or other gadgets they feel are important to have. In order to buy these things, they work out an agreement with the Home, but many times the fruits in their personal lives aren't so positive--such as becoming more independent or selfish, or working on the periphery of the Family, or losing the vision to live by faith, and continuing to work even after they have acquired what they wanted, etc. It also foments a spirit of comparison and creates distinctions between the haves and have-nots, those who have their own cars, etc., and those who are simple missionaries, content with such things as they have.
111. In the Charter member contract, point O says: “I hereby agree to commit my resources, time, energy, knowledge, gifts and talents towards reaching the agreed-upon goals of the Home in which I reside and the goals of the Family at large.” If the majority of the members of a Home are committing most of their time and energy to System jobs, with some witnessing on the side, it seems this fits in more with an FM level of commitment and not a CM one.
* * *
112. The fundraising methods vary in the amount of time they take and in the possibility of also using them for preaching the Gospel. I think the ballooning, face-painting, clowning, birthday party entertaining, etc., could all be fruitful forms of fundraising as far as being able to use them as part of a Home's witness and ministry for the Lord. But often they are not used as such, but solely as a form of raising funds, and there is no real message or witness included.
113. Also, I think that quite a bit of the fundraising, especially with our young people, is for their own goals--such as for their own vehicle or their own travel-and-visit-their-friends plans, or the different material things that they want.
114. The Homes don't seem to be basing their decisions on the old basic sound principles of the Word and the Lord's promises that “they that preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel,” and “if we give unto you spiritual things, is it any great thing that we reap your carnal things,” etc. Therefore, the preaching of the Gospel and thus the Lord's plan for us don't come to pass, and people and the Family in general get weakened.
115. The tendency is to look at “fundraising” as something separate in order to meet the Home's financial needs--like quick and easy--rather than trusting the Lord to provide because they are faithful in their witnessing and follow-up.
116. Some of our new disciples join very gung-ho as they have the classes and learn the verses regarding forsaking all, trusting the Lord to supply as they give their lives to Him and preach the Gospel. But then as they get married and have children‚ the reality often becomes something different, as the need for funds is met by frequent trips to the West, System jobs or whatever, and is a constant burden--yet it often isn't met by just simply obeying the Scriptural admonition to do our job and then trust that the Lord will supply.
* * *
117. It seems we have a fair number of very smart young people, mainly men, who have taught themselves quite a bit about computers and programming or Web work. Some of them have left the Family, but I've seen that some who remain in the Family are often still very money- and System-oriented‚ with a lot of talk and communications going on regarding how to get money by different computer–related jobs, or working on Web sites, or programming for different System companies. This sort of work is often accompanied by some anti-Family policy attitudes.
118. I received a note from one Home regarding some young men in such a situation there. The Home reported: “You often hear them together talking about their bank accounts, buying this or buying that‚ and it doesn't lend to the unity of spirit in the Home.-–Especially when you seldom see those same people making an effort to come to devotions‚ but when it comes time to get up and head into town for business, they can be up and out as early as they wish.” (End of excerpt from Home.)
119. It seems these young men are potential “supers‚” with the knowledge and money-making ability that others look up to, but often lack the “super-duper” convictions and attitudes of the spirit which really count and which our other young people should be looking up to.
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120. A Family member told me that the Family has become a dog-eat-dog society. Here's one example this person gave me: If you have a good fundraising spot, you will keep it a secret and not tell any other Family member, because it's your own bread and butter, and once it's burned out‚ it's gone. It doesn't matter anymore that the Family at large gets that same income. It's a different Home! Or even within the same Home, it's a different person! You have to raise your own share of the budget, and how the other one does it is his problem.
121. I think everybody feels like if they work hard to bring in the funds, why shouldn't the other guy? They conclude it needs to be justly divided, fair and square.
122. It seems like everybody is struggling for finances so desperately, but again the individual Family member may be richer than 10 years ago. A while back it was enough if a Home had two vehicles; now if there are four families in a Home, they all need their own car. And they have to work for it themselves. Now there is less and less Home property and more and more personal property. “I own my double bed, the kids' beds, my cupboards, my desk with the desktop, some kitchen equipment, my car, etc. And if I move I take them all, because I worked so hard for them, and who knows what I'll have in the next Home. I have to secure myself somehow, right?” This is the way of thinking that goes around.
123. Somehow everything is breaking down to the individual Family person. Everybody wants to do their own thing. Everybody has their own vision, their own standard. I have lived in a Home where all I had to do was bring in my share of the money, and I was told I could do whatever I wanted. Also, some of these “Home budgets” just cover the rent and bills and food, and everything else is your own concern. I have heard of a Home where someone was watching how many slices of cheese the other one was eating, since everything had to be “equal.” (End of comments from COs and VSs.)
124. (Mama:) What's happening to the Family? Don't you wonder about that? What about communal living, having all things in common, from each according to his ability unto each according to his need, bearing one another's burdens?
125. Many of you have become almost totally focused on money. That's your main concern. Of course, I understand that you need money, and a lot of it! But a terrible worldly selfishness has snuck into our ranks, and it stinks! That's not the Family!
Are You Building
A Lasting Work?
126. Besides the horrible testimony of selfishness and lack of love, your money-hungry attitudes and materialistic spirits manifested in your lack of sharing and your dependence on System jobs--or Family-created jobs where you're self-employed but do little or no witnessing on the job--give rise to two other serious drawbacks: 1) Either you don't have any time to witness after you've slaved away all day or night to raise money, or 2) once you have the money you need, you don't have the motivation or drive to do any serious witnessing.
127. Both of these drawbacks are having the same effect in the end. They're taking you out of the mission field; they're keeping you from building a lasting work.
128. Notice I use the term “build a work.” That is an important differentiation, because you might do some night singing, clowning/ballooning, etc., and justify your actions with the excuse that you're giving out tracts. You know I love to give out tracts. I do so as often as I can. But giving out tracts is certainly a far cry from building a strong, lasting work with new members‚ regular Bible studies, Active members, young catacomb disciples, tithers, supporters, “consider the poor” ministries, etc.
129. Judge for yourself. Is your System job making it possible for you to build a strong, lasting work as described above? If you decide to keep your System job or keep up your Family-created System job (clowning‚ ballooning, etc.), a year from now, what would you have to show for it? If you had to go underground, would you have solid, trained disciples to help support you? If you had to leave the country, would you have a “church” of trained followers to carry on? If younger Family members were to follow your sample, what kind of disciples would they be? If you went to be with the Lord, how would you feel as you look into His eyes?
How to Judge
Family Fundraising Methods
130. Let's talk more about the Family-created fundraising methods that many feel are on a par with System jobs, such as ballooning, clowning‚ face painting, car washes, night singing of System songs, etc. It's true that in many cases these methods are just like System jobs, if there is no or little witness. And even if there is some witness, like tract passing, these methods are more about raising funds than witnessing and bearing fruit that remains.
131. We've heard serious concerns from some continents that the Homes in their area aren't ordering many tools anymore, because they're so busy with teaching English or clowning/ballooning. So it's obvious that those fundraising methods are definitely affecting our overall witness in a big way. And as I said, even if you give out a few tracts here and there while involved in that kind of fundraising, that's not the kind of quality witnessing that will build a lasting work through follow–up and Active members. That's not the kind of witnessing that will help you garner regular support for the future. Here is some counsel from the Lord on this:
132. (Jesus speaking:) There are various factors to consider when judging these Family-created fundraising methods. They can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how they're used and how much witness you are able to incorporate into these methods. Judge by the following:
• These non-witnessing methods should be used only as a means to an end. They are not the end in themselves. If the funds that are raised support a thriving witnessing and follow-up ministry, then these methods are a blessing. But if they are considered the main witness of a person, family or Home, then they're terribly and sadly lacking, as the witness is shallow and will not grow into a long-lasting work.
• If there is no witnessing whatsoever allowed during these fundraising activities, if those involved cannot even give out tracts or witness in the name of the Family‚ these fundraising methods are a distraction and a compromise. Those involved should look for better open doors and for a more meaningful way to raise finances, where they can get out more message and distribute tools.
• If those who do such fundraising still have a desire and the time to go witnessing, to follow up, and have a fruitful work, then they have a good balance. But the danger is that when the need for finances is satisfied, many of My would-be missionaries settle down and live selfishly. They don't use the rest of their time to reach the world and win a following; they become complacent and satisfied when their financial needs are met through these other avenues.
• There truly is no future for long-term regular support in these fundraising methods. These methods do not give rise to in-depth witnessing, follow-up, and the cultivation of a following or congregation that will, with time, provide regular support. So these types of fundraising perpetuate the “hand-to-mouth” cycle.
• In some of these fundraising methods, the faster the person is, the more profitable it is. This need for speed makes the witness even shallower, if there is any witness at all. At least with some non-witnessing methods, such as car washes in which there is a witnessing team on the side talking to the car owners, or night singing that specializes in System songs but where the music is used as “bait” to gradually incorporate Family-type songs into the repertoire and where there is a team selling tools and getting addresses on the side, there is the option to talk in depth to those on the receiving end of the service given. Or if you are clowning and have a show that delivers a message, if you have a team on the side passing out the Word, selling the tools to parents and collecting names and addresses to follow up on, that opens the door for the possibility of more witnessing and long-lasting fruit. But when things move so fast that you hardly have a chance to talk to anyone and there's no witness involved, the Family–created fundraising methods rank right up there with a System job; the only difference is that you're self-employed.
• You can judge the overall fruitfulness of the fundraising method by looking at the fruit of the Home. If they have no Active members or disciples, if they have no Church of Love, no Bible studies, no regular monthly supporters, no provisioning contacts, no potential disciples on the line, and no Activated subscriptions are being sold‚ then their witnessing is shallow and unfruitful. No matter how much money a method brings in, if the overall fruit of the Home does not include the above-mentioned fruit‚ the overall witness of the Home is shallow.
139. A regular “consider the poor” ministry alone isn't necessarily enough to determine that the Home has a fruitful, well-balanced outreach ministry, because a “consider the poor” ministry will not usually provide the Home with supporters, new disciples or protection. The same can be said for a regular provisioning ministry, unless you're faithfully ministering to your contacts with Family materials and they're growing in their knowledge and understanding of the Family, what you believe and what you do. There must be in-depth witnessing, follow-up, and reaching the middle and upper class as well if a Home is to fulfill the vision of making disciples of all nations. That is the only kind of witnessing that will relieve the Home of the “hand-to-mouth” syndrome and provide a solid, dependable base of support. (End of message from Jesus.)
Is Only Temporary
140. (Mama:) I know many of you are tired of what you call “beating the pavements” to raise support. You want “security.” But do you think the System is going to last forever? The time you spend away from building a lasting work for the Lord might give you temporary security today, but there will come a time when it will all vanish, just like that! Then you'll be left high and dry, with no support, no national church of disciples, no one to take you in. That's partly what the Lord meant when He said earlier that “you'll be found wanting.”
141. Sure, you might think you'll just have a System job for a while, and then you'll get back into full-time missionary work. But that's a pipe dream. By the time you realize the danger you're in, it will be too late, and your opportunities for open witnessing and really making fast progress will be lost! Then how will you support your family? Then how will you supply for your children?
142. Many of you have become so dull in spirit, lethargic, and compromising that you look at the System as your friend, thinking it will kindly support you as long as you want. But it doesn't work that way, and eventually you'll look back with remorse that you didn't obey when it was easy.
143. You think so-called “pounding the pavement” is hard, but you have no idea what hard is until you have felt the cruel wrath of the System! Believe me, things will not continue as they are. In time, there will be a shocking change and all that “comfort” and security in the System will vanish and you'll be left with nothing! Then you'll not only have to give account to the Lord, but also to your loved ones. What will you say?
The “God Factor!”
144. I know the big drawing card for System jobs is that you want security. I also understand that the need for immediate finances is probably the biggest thing standing in the way of most people being more involved with Activated. If Activated was an immediate money-maker like ballooning/clowning, it would probably have caught on much more quickly. I know it takes faith to dedicate your time to Activated. I know money is a big deal and it's difficult to raise it!
145. There's nothing I can say that will make the transition from other fundraising methods or System jobs to Activated and follow-up easier. There is no presto-change-o solution. But you have to decide if you're willing to work, sacrifice and do whatever it takes to develop a lasting work and make the future success of the Family a reality, or whether you'll stay in your present System-dependent ruts.
146. It boils down to a choice. Are you going to believe God or not? Are you going to obey the vision or not? Are you going to put God on the spot or not? Are you going to make the sacrifices necessary or not?
147. One CO commented: Finances is a major issue. We bump into it when we talk about the Activated vision and how it's going to take a change in the Family's modus operandi, mindset, etc. People have told me that we can't expect the Homes to get more into follow-up because of their financial difficulties. The main argument is that pushing Activated doesn't bring in funds, not right away anyway, which is pretty factual. But we remind each other of the “God factor” when we feel a bit overburdened and want to remind ourselves that it's all by faith. (End of CO comment.)
148. (Mama:) Okay, so Activated doesn't bring in the same abundance of funds immediately as other fundraising methods. You don't get the same financial returns when you invest time selling subscriptions as when you do ballooning. That's true. What can we do about that? What is the “God factor” the CO mentioned above? And how reliable is it?
149. I know some of you are tired of spiritual counsel regarding practical matters. But that's the problem: You don't see the Lord's promises of supply as being very real, very practical. Ask God to change your outlook, because those promises are dependable and true. It's this very “God factor” that has provided for the Family for decades! If you can't see that, then of course this counsel won't help you. It's been said before‚ hundreds of times in the Letters.
150. I won't be intimidated by your complaints that I'm over-spiritualizing, that I don't understand, that I can't possibly relate because WS is supported by your tithes. God's promises are real! They work! I'll never stop pleading with you to take God at His Word. I'll never stop begging you to obey the Lord so He can supply abundantly for you, as He wants to. I'll never put my trust in the System rather than our Husband and Lover, who is the God of the universe.
151. Think about this “God factor” and see how much it's been a part of your life lately.
152. (Jesus speaking:) The God factor means standing on My promises. It means trusting in Me, believing that nothing is impossible with Me. It means that I am able to supply all your needs. It means that faith in Me overrides all impossibilities.
153. The God factor means that I have opened to you the riches of the universe, I have put before you a great reservoir of supply, and it's yours for the asking, yours for the taking. The God factor means that if you will put your trust fully in Me, you will lack nothing. It means that if you preach the Gospel, you will live of the Gospel. It means that all things are possible to you. It means if you are trusting Me and doing what I tell you to do, I will never fail to support you, even if I have to drop the support out of the sky. It means good witnessing always pays. It means if you are obeying Me, I will take care of your needs. It means if I promise bread, I will not give you a stone.
154. Practically speaking, it means if the Family will put their trust in Me, if they will claim My promises, if they will obey what I tell them to do, I will supply all their needs according to My riches in glory. It means if they will get out and do the “wenting,” I will supply.
155. The God factor means trusting Me more than trusting in the arm of the flesh, more than trusting in the worldly system of man. The God factor is standing on My Word and My promises.
156. My ways are not your ways. I do things contrary to man. I can and will supply for My Family in the interim period [when pioneering Activated and follow-up]. I am only limited by lack of faith. My supply is only blocked by disobedience, by lack of faith‚ by lack of appropriating the promises I give you.
157. It is a gross misunderstanding to think that I cannot supply for My children while they are doing My will. To think that pushing Activated is not going to bring in the funds initially is not true. Do you think that I am not able to supply each step of the way for My Family? I have told you there are no impossibilities. It is not true that I cannot or will not supply for My children in the interim. Am I not able?
158. I promise to supply for My Own. Do you not think I am able to supply every need while My brides are working for Me? To think that I cannot supply in the interim is absurd! Am I God or not? Do not the winds and the waves obey My command? Do I not give the command and whole kingdoms are subdued in My Name?
159. O children of little faith‚ how long will you doubt? How long will you fail to take the leap? Who will try? Who will go? Who is willing to take the plunge? Who is willing to launch out into the deep of where I am leading you? Who is willing to put their hand in Mine, trusting that I will be more than a light and better than a known way? Who is willing to command Me? Who is willing to prove Me? Who is willing to receive My promise? Who is willing to call on the keys of the Kingdom to open the Heavenly windows of miracles of supply?
160. It takes faith, yes. It takes courage; it takes daring to trust Me. It takes the “God factor”–-putting your trust wholly and completely in Me, claiming My Word, and expecting Me to do miracles, to do what you cannot do. It takes ignoring possible consequences when the doubters say, “No, no, no, it can't be done.” It takes taking a stand.
161. Am I not able to supply all along the way? Are My Own to be wanting and begging for bread? Do I forsake My Own?
162. If it couldn't be done‚ I would not have asked it of you. I am not limited. Do you think I cannot supply in the interim? That is as ridiculous as saying I cannot stop the rain. Why, why, why, O brides, do you limit Me? How long will you doubt? How long will you delay in putting Me on the spot‚ in claiming My promises, in reaping the harvest that lies waiting before you?
163. It takes faith, I know, yet I have likewise given you this faith. It takes keeping your eyes focused on Me and Me alone. It takes coming out from among them and touching not the unclean thing. And it takes doing what I have told you to do. It takes following where I am leading. It takes childlike faith. It takes quiet trust. It takes the simple assurance of knowing that what I have promised, I will do. It takes trusting Me to see you through, because you know you are obeying and doing My will, and because of your obedience, I will not let you down.
164. The “God factor” will make all the difference in the world. It means the difference between your success or your failure, your premature end or your hope of survival. It means the difference between life and death for the souls waiting to hear My message. It means the difference between you receiving the blessings and promises I have reserved for you, or going through life as beggars, destitute of your needs. (End of message from Jesus.)
165. (Mama:) That message is packed with promises, but they are conditional. To receive that supply and blessing, you must obey! Are you obeying?
It's a New Day--
A Time to Witness and Win!
166. Some of you might feel your need to get a job was confirmed by old Letters in which Dad talks about times when it can be advantageous or necessary to have a System job. If you went to the Arc to search System jobs you could possibly make quite a case in favor of them. There is counsel in past GNs for specific fields that could seem to be a clear leading from Dad to pursue System jobs. I asked the Lord about this older counsel, and here is His response:
167. (Jesus speaking:) I do a new thing, for this is a new day. Time is short; only what is done for Me will bear fruit and sustain My children in this time of the End. All of My children must decide whether they will live by faith and depend on the “God factor” alone, or whether they will serve Mammon. They cannot serve two masters-–they must now choose. I am a moving God, a changing God, and an Activated God! The counsel I have given in the past, that which was published in years gone by regarding System jobs‚ is not to glean excuses on how to live today. This is the era of action! You have entered the Last Days, and your mode of operation must change accordingly!
168. I wish to free My people to serve Me. I am calling My children out of the clutches of this world's System and into My arms where they can live by faith and faith alone. I am calling them out of the clutches of the System, where they will be able to survive in the troublous times ahead! I am calling them out of the anti-God, anti-Christ System of today, to be My mouthpieces, My miracle workers of the End.
169. There will be few exceptions to this matter of System jobs. The criteria for System jobs depends on the fruit borne, on how much witness can be given, on how much Word can be handed out, on how much training of new disciples, friends, supporters, and Active members can be had, on how many tools can be distributed.
170. I call everyone to witness and to win. If and when there is a job that will permit this, where their convictions will not be compromised and where they can get out the tools, get out the message, and teach others the doctrine, I will consider and bless their efforts in such a ministry. Yet this will be the exception, not the rule. (End of message from Jesus.)
Are You Still Living Acts 2:44-45?
171. (Mama:) Some of the financial difficulties you face could be due to not living communally. Take, for example, the following CO's observations:
172. I totally believe that living by faith is not a thing of the past. It has to be possible. So then, what's happening in the Family today? Are we seeing things from the wrong perspective? Are our Homes off track and therefore the Lord can't supply for them?
173. Something that I believe the Lord was speaking to my heart about, as part of the answer to this dilemma, is the fact that we have a great number of small Homes as compared to average-size communities. When I say “communities” I'm not talking about blobs, but Homes of two or three couples and some singles living communally, sharing all things, etc. As we all know from the Scriptures, that is God's financial plan.
174. Could it be that we have deviated from that principle in spirit and in practice? Are we limiting God's ability to bless us by our recent more selfish and independent living? God's financial plan in Acts 2:44,45 worked in the past and I believe it still works today. (End of CO comments.)
175. (Mama:) The Lord's financial plan for the Family has always been Acts 2:44 and 45. If you're not living that, I strongly suggest you pray about what changes you need in your lives and Home. And certainly if you're a single-family Home you can't possibly be living Acts 2:44 and 45, and you will undoubtedly run into more financial pressure. It's only logical that if you live communally and share your expenses and possessions such as your cars, appliances, computers, etc., not only is it more economical but it's obedience to the Lord's plan, so He can bless you more. But it all boils down to how much you want to share, how much you want to live unselfishly.
How Hard Are You Willing to
Work for Your Support?
176. And that brings us to another point that hasn't been talked about much in the Letters, at least not in recent times, and that is: What can you expect the Lord to supply, and how much are you willing to work for the support you need?
177. One of the pioneers of the Active member ministry in Brazil related from personal experience that beginning a follow-up ministry is like having two jobs. You have to keep up your daily fundraising while at the same time investing all the time needed for follow–up. You can't just ignore your daily expenses or you'll go broke, but neither can you keep postponing your Bible classes or your follow-up ministry will never get off the ground! He explained that to make it work, you have to work pretty much day and night initially. You have to put in double time for a while. It's very much the same as what people do in the System when they are starting a new business. Do you think some young entrepreneur who's opening a new business just puts in a few hours a day and then takes it easy the rest of the time? Of course not! Most of the time, during the first few years of a new business the founder/owner is working long hours. There's a lot of sacrifice involved. And sometimes they make sacrifices financially too.
178. What are you willing to do to have the Lord supply for you through full-time witnessing and follow-up? How much are you willing to sacrifice to prove it can be done? Are you willing to work hard to pioneer an Activated and follow-up ministry? To what lengths are you willing to go? Are you willing to give up some of your free time? Are you willing to go without some recreational activities if you don't have the time or money? Are you willing to cut back on expenses to save money? What is it worth to you?
179. The Charter says that the minimum witnessing requirement for all voting members is two hours a week. That is the minimum. But it's obvious that if you're going to pioneer an Activated ministry and follow-up program, as well as keep up with your daily witnessing activities that bring in immediate cash, you're going to have to work a lot harder than two hours a week at witnessing! Those who are making it pay in witnessing and follow-up are doing it full-time. That means all their work hours they're working hard at making it work!
180. Most people in the System work eight hours a day, some much more--and that does not include the time they spend driving to and from their jobs! I can't help but believe that some of you aren't making ends meet financially because you're just not working at it. You're not investing the time needed. Like one of the COs said earlier, people are willing to put in long hours and make sacrifices for their System jobs that they're not willing to make for witnessing. Well, you can't expect God to pay your bills if you're not working, and working hard for Him!
181. I think many of you have unrealistic expectations of what God should supply for you and what you're willing to do to “earn” that supply. Do you think you can get away with only a few hours of witnessing a week and then expect that God's going to supply your needs abundantly? How are you spending your time? Is God, as your Employer, pleased with your performance? Or are you a lazy slacker who's trying to take the “company” for a ride? (Read “More on Faith,” ML #T.)
182. “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread; but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough” (Pro. 28:19). “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Pro.10:4).
183. Dad taught us: “A lot of would-be missionaries have the idea that living by faith means not working! You just quit your job and sit around expecting God to support you instead of going out and putting feet to your prayers and helping to earn it.
184. “You have to really work at it and do God's work and then God will drop it out of the sky‚ if He has to! But He's not going to drop it out of the sky with you sitting around doing nothing. I know if you do your part in the will of God in the place God wants you, God will never fail to do His part‚ whatever you can't do” (ML #683:70-71).
BUILDING A FINANCIAL FOUNDATION
185. (Mama:) Now let's move on to another aspect of compromise for gain related to support and System jobs. Two of our COs commented:
186. I very much agree that there is a very strong move away from some of the Family's bedrock/fundamental beliefs. I think one of the things that has kind of affected everyone's decisions in the way of their leaning toward wanting to get “set up” and possibly get a “steady job” and “financially stable” has been that our Endtime vision is a little more “open-ended” as far as how soon things will happen. This kind of put a whole new spin on people's concept of the Endtime, which now very much affects their personal goals and plans.
187. This has not only affected the young people, but I've seen it have as much, if not more, of an effect on the FGAs who felt they would never have to worry about things like Social Security, retirement, etc., as those words were unheard of and totally unrevolutionary. But now, many are getting older and are thinking, “Wow, I never thought I'd reach this point on Earth,” and they wonder how they're going to keep up, as they don't have the same drive, and some are not super charismatic types, which makes them worry about how much they're going to be able to do and for how long.
188. Then, the way the SGAs interpret the whole scenario that they see their parents facing is that they don't want to be in their parents' shoes if and when they get to be their age. If you talk honestly with most SGAs, they all feel bad for their folks and worry about them and how they are going to keep up and support themselves. Or in other cases they even think their parents should have done better for themselves by being more prepared. I'm not talking about the FGAs that are doing well, as there are many of these‚ too, but there is a large enough population of those who are starting to struggle that it really does affect the younger generation. The SGAs conclude that if they give their time and lives to the Lord without building a financial foundation as well and really planning and preparing for the worst-case scenario, then they may be in their parents' shoes some day.
189. [The CO went on to explain an example of an SGA couple that feels led to spend five years getting set up financially. Their idea is to devote the next years to making money‚ possibly buying a property that they could then rent out and use as a support base for when they go back to a field, and thus they wouldn't always have to depend on people. Even though it might take five years, this couple feels they'd still have a number of good years left to do missionary work. The CO went on to say:]
190. I think this typifies what so many of our young people are presently facing. I think they want to plan it out right and “learn from the experiences of others” so that they have what they need to do the job further down the road.
191. Then there are countless examples of FGAs who feel like maybe if they had done things slightly differently, they could possibly be a little better off now. As far as our young people are concerned, I think many of them are preparing for an extended time till Jesus returns, and feel that even if it takes an initial investment of time‚ in the long run they feel they'll not only be better off, but also will be able to do more for the Lord if they have a financial base to work from and do missionary work from.
* * *
192. It's not uncommon for some young people to feel sorry for their parents, feeling that they should have it easier now going into their later years, and feeling that they must have done something wrong to not have some sort of retirement plan. This is a sad outlook, because it strikes at some of the very foundations of basic discipleship. The underlying conclusion of this thought process is that forsaking all to follow Jesus must be a lie‚ that it doesn't work. It seems to strike at some very basic precepts of what being a real Christian is all about. It seems like a direct assault on the Word.
193. I don't think our first generation got it wrong! Through Dad's leading and encouragement, we got it exactly right! We went into all the world‚ preached the Gospel, won disciples, and many are still going strong. Of course, there are those older members with health problems, but if they had to do it again, how many would trade their life of service for a better financial situation now? I think there is probably a higher number of older Family members in the States right now that might say they wish they had a better financial setup, but I'm guessing that it's not the predominant view of those who are still active missionaries on the field. (End of comments from COs.)
Living for the Lord and
Doing His Work Is a Sure Thing!
194. (Mama:) Here are Dad's comments on this predicament, which I pray is a help to you who are wondering about this same thing.
195. (Dad speaking:) It can be hard being a missionary sometimes--in fact, a lot of the time! The Lord supplies as you do His work, but often in the life of faith you're not sure what the next meal will be and who the Lord will use to provide it. You know it'll come, but you're just not sure how it'll arrive! That's one of the things that keeps you desperate with the Lord, fervent in prayer, and active in His work, because it's as you're obedient and reach out to others with His message that He supplies.
196. So I know how you feel, because I felt the same way sometimes when I was younger. You face a constant struggle for support, and your faith is tested to see whether you'll keep going for God and looking to Him or whether you'll turn to man and Mammon instead. That's a battle I often faced in my younger years, especially when I was first married and had four little children to support. Oh, I served the Lord; don't get me wrong. My mother and father had given me a great heritage of faith, and my greatest desire was to witness and win souls, but it took me a while to find my calling, before the birth of the Family.
197. In those years when I and my family were searching for the best way to serve the Lord, there were times of both abasing and abounding. Sometimes we lived in old mansions; other times we lived in old houses that we had to fix up a bit. Sometimes we lived on the road in a station wagon and tent or in little trailers; other times we lived in the Ark, our 26-foot-long Dodge motor home. My aunt used to call us “Gospel gypsies,” although when she was feeling less charitable she'd call us “Gospel bums,” ha! So I know what it's like to live by faith and I know it can be a tough life sometimes. Don't forget, I didn't start the Family till I was nearly 50 years old!
198. During all that time many people in the U.S., at least, wouldn't have considered us rich, but we always had sufficient because we were doing what the Lord wanted us to and being faithful witnesses for Him, the best we knew how. So He kept us and provided for us and we won multitudes of souls while we were at it, one by one. I didn't know what the future held, but I was determined to do my best for the Lord every day, to be faithful to the Lord and to lost souls every day, and He never let me down. He always provided our needs and took care of us, and as He saw I was faithful to witness and win others, He gave me more of a ministry, more support and provision, and more friends and supporters, and finally He gave me you, the Family!
199. It's only when I tried to take matters into my own hands and provide for my own needs instead of trusting the Lord and letting Him supply that I had trouble. I've told you some of these stories before, I know, but bear with me for a minute, okay? I want to remind you of some of my experiences raising my own support and trying to get set up with a steady income to take care of my family. I want you to realize that I went through the same things and to know that I can understand and sympathize.
200. I once thought the Lord wanted me to be a preacher, but after I got kicked out of Valley Farms, Arizona, and the church I built there, I'd had my fill of churchianity for a while! I was in my 30s then, and Eve and I and the kids moved to Los Angeles, where I got a job as a teacher at a Christian school, and I wound up doing that off and on for years.
201. Every morning I drove a school bus and picked up rowdy kids, taught them all day long, and then drove them home afterwards. The job paid good money for those days, and we were able to get set up in a house and even get another house nearby that I finished building. I filled both houses with furniture, bought a trailer, and we were doing better than we'd done for a long time.
202. But it was hard work and there were many times I felt I just couldn't go on. If you think living for the Lord is tough, try living just to make a living, even if you are doing something for the Lord in the meantime! It was during this time that I looked in the mirror one morning and told the Lord I just couldn't take it another day‚ that it was too hard. But He told me that I needed to “endure hardness as a good soldier,” so I kept at it. He wasn't through with me there yet, and He wanted to make sure I learned my lesson.
203. But one day He was through with me there, and He told me to quit my job, to forsake all, and to hit the road and go witnessing and He'd take care of me! Here I was making more money than I'd ever had before‚ had a respectable job, two houses full of furniture and belongings, a wife and a bunch of little kids dependent on me, and the Lord told me to give it all up! He told me, “Go, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and come follow Me!” It came as quite a shock--especially to Mother Eve--but we did it, and the Lord kept us and provided for us. We no longer had any “visible means of support,” as they used to say back then, but we had a great big invisible means of support--the Lord! So we went out and witnessed and the Lord did take care of us, thank the Lord!
204. But then a few years later we hit kind of a low spot in Miami and I got a job again, this time with the District Attorney's office. I worked there and did well‚ got along well with the office people and even the DA, and I could have probably wound up running the office in a few years. I was making a steady income again and we could have saved up a lot of money for evangelistic work, which I still wanted to do. But one day as I was looking out over beautiful sunny Miami from the window of this big building where the DA had his office, the Lord as good as told me to forsake all again. Even though Miami was sunny, He told me that the whole world was lost in darkness while I was just shuffling papers to feed my family! So I gave the DA notice and I was soon living and working full-time for the Lord again.
205. The Lord provided our needs, day after day‚ week after week, month after month, year after year‚ but it was still a struggle. It was the life of faith, and that's what we lived for 10 or 15 more years till we moved out to California and started the Family. But I had finally gotten the point that the Lord was more interested in me living and working full–time for Him right then, every day, than He was in me having a steady income and maybe saving up to work for Him later.
206. If I'd said “later” to the Lord, telling Him that I'd serve Him more and better once I had a steady income of some sort and a little money saved up, there wouldn't be a Family today. The SGAs wouldn't even be asking this question because their parents wouldn't have joined, gotten married and had their kids, and gone into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature by faith, trusting the Lord to supply as they traveled from place to place and had child after child.
207. Was all that a mistake? When the Family began, should I have told all those hippies and dropouts to drop back in to the System and raise money so they could support themselves better? No! We just trusted the Lord and He provided, and He's done so for more than 30 years now! You can read the story in “God's Guarantees” and other Letters if you want the history of His supply as we've changed ministries, methods, countries and cultures!
208. Now I know the life of faith isn't easy, but it works! Forsaking all and trusting the Lord to supply your every need isn't always easy street. You abase and you abound. But through it all, the Lord keeps you and He provides for you. You're His servant working for Him, so He takes care of you. And if He's cared for you in the past‚ do you think He's going to forsake you in the future? Do you think the Lord would toss you out as an unprofitable servant just because you grow old or get sick or can't keep up the same pace you used to? Let me tell you, He won't! That's not the kind of God He is!
209. Having lived by faith for so many years, should we now go back to the beggarly elements of the System for our support to have some sort of cushion for our old age or whatever? To put it simply, no. We've always put the Lord first and He's always supplied what we've needed for the future, and He will continue to do so. You may not know exactly how He'll do it and you may have all kinds of questions about it, but the Lord just expects you to trust Him.
210. He didn't say we'd walk by sight; He said we'd walk by faith. He didn't say we'd understand with our carnal minds; He said that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and that His ways are as high above ours as the heavens are above the Earth. In fact, He instructed us to trust in Him with all our heart and not to lean to our own understanding. That's not me speaking--that's God's Word, and it's as true now as it ever was! And you can trust it now just as much as you ever did.
211. There's no need to take matters into your own hands and to fret and worry so much about your own support, much less your old age. I can understand your concerns. Like I said, I've had many of them myself. But what you need to understand is that it's not gain but loss to give up the Lord's work to raise money for later years‚ even if it's for a good cause, the Lord's cause. During that time, you could have helped countless people, won thousands of souls, and had a tremendous impact on the world, because each of the people you minister to and help touches the lives of many others.
212. If you choose to instead desert your plow and come back to it a few years down the line when you have more income and figure you can plow better, I guarantee you it won't be easy. For one thing, how much income is enough? How much money are you going to raise, and when are you going to stop? And when you do, will you still have the burden and initiative to go back to plowing again, the love for lost souls that you once had? Or will you feel that you're better off just as a supporter--if you even have enough vision left for that? You'll start cooling off and you won't see things the way you used to because you're not living the life you used to, and you may not want to go back to it, or even to support it. Even if you go into making money with the best of intentions, it may not work out like you think it will.
213. Besides all that, what are you going to do if there's a disaster or recession and your business or investment is wiped out? Or what if hard times hit and, instead of making money as you expected, you wind up in debt? Millions of people around the world do, you know, even those who are a lot more knowledgeable about their jobs than you will be! And what will you do if the Crash hits, as it inevitably will, and all your income goes down the drain, and you really have nothing to fall back on; you're not used to living and working for the Lord anymore and have no friends, supporters and contacts to turn to for help?
214. Working for the System and raising money is not a “sure thing,” even if it may seem to be, whereas living for the Lord and doing His work is a sure thing, even if it may not seem to be! If you have faith and obedience and trust Him, He will take care of you. Read Hebrews 11. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the title deed. You must believe that the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, a provider of their needs, because He is!
215. Well, you can read all this in your Bible and in the Letters, and you should. I think if some of you really studied our past Letters and the plan we've always followed, and the plan that the Lord laid down in His Word for His Church thousands of years ago, you'd have fewer questions along this line. I know you've read these past Letters, not to mention the Bible, but maybe you've gotten familiar with them and lost track of how applicable they still are today. Just like the Lord is still the same yesterday, today and forever, so is His Word, His promises to provide your every need, and His plan to keep you even in your old age. As dear King David said, “I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
216. So SGAs, don't worry about your parents, or yourselves. And FGAs, don't worry about your children, or yourselves. The Lord is fully able to keep and to provide and to make you fruitful well into your old age. Goodness, my mother traveled all over the U.S. with us in the Ark, our motor home, when she was nearly 80 years old, witnessing and winning souls in that “7,000 miles of miracles” I told you about! And she was instrumental in getting the Family started even after that, when she was well into her 80s‚ because of her love for souls. She'd make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and take them down to the hippies at Huntington Beach and feed them, and she convinced me to come out to California and feed them spiritually--and we did, and the Family was born!
217. I was middle-aged then, and the Lord kept me and helped me for another 25 years, despite my many afflictions‚ and I kept bringing forth fruit in old age. So don't worry about old age, much less about getting reclassified because you can't keep up or something. Goodness, some of our young folks couldn't keep up with me, and I was more than 30 years older than them! Just keep loving the Lord and others every day, doing your best for Him and for the lost and the needy‚ and then trust Him for the rest. He loves you and He cares for you--I know!
218. Following Jesus works, and there are great rewards! Though you may be poor on Earth at times, you're making many rich, and you're laying up great rewards here in Heaven! You have no idea what the Lord has in store for you, and it'll last for eternity! So as you take up your cross and follow Him, take heart, and keep your eyes on Heaven, where you'll shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever! Hallelujah! You may not be rollin' in the dough now, but you'll be wealthy forever! Love, Dad. (End of message from Dad.)
219. (Mama:) What Dad is saying is not new. You who know the Letters well know Dad's history, as well as the history of the Family. But many of you have somehow fallen into the mentality that the circumstances have changed, that what we have believed and how we have lived for years, since the beginning, isn't for you or isn't good enough anymore.
220. The Lord can supply today, just as abundantly as in the past, if not more so. Granted, every missionary who lives by faith has difficult times every now and then; that's how the Lord strengthens our faith and puts us in situations where He can do miracles. It's thrilling to see Him come through with our needs and supply in miraculous ways, and if we never got into tight spots, you can be sure we'd see fewer obvious miracles, because we wouldn't need them, we wouldn't pray for them‚ or expect them.
221. I do, however‚ want to clearly bring out “the other side” too. While you can expect to have some tight times financially, and while Dad talked about the times they struggled, that certainly does not mean that you should be satisfied with living in squalor and poverty! That is not the point, nor is that what Dad is saying!
222. While Dad was never extravagant and he didn't expect a lot of fancy things, he always had the faith for the Lord to supply so we could effectively do our work for the Lord and have what we needed for our children, pregnant mommies, travels, nutrition, medical needs, etc. Dad never advocated living in poverty, in dirty, run-down, junky homes that were a bad testimony!
223. If we are to promote Activated, build a greater church, win Active members, reach the middle and upper class where the most potential labor leaders are found, and become a financial power, then we certainly can't be living in awful, filthy, crowded, miserable conditions, as has recently been reported in some areas. We can expect the Lord to provide what we need and even many wants! If we are obedient to Him, working hard, doing His will and reaching the lost, He will supply! Read “Rags to Riches!”
224. To struggle financially from time to time so that you have to pray desperately and ask your supporters for the finances you need is completely different than living in poverty where your children don't have what they need, you're driving unsafe cars, you are a bad testimony to the people you're witnessing to, etc. That is not right, and if that's the situation in your Home, there's something wrong and you need to find out what it is and correct it!
A “Retirement Plan” for FGAs
225. Peter and I firmly believe that you FGAs who are worried about your future and how you'll make ends meet as you get older haven't yet discovered the “retirement plan” the Lord is offering you. It's not exactly that you'll retire, ever, as there's no discharge in this war, and the Lord expects each of us to keep fighting to the end, no matter what difficulties we encounter. It is true that you will slow down somewhat physically, and you probably won't be able to take the strain of being out on the streets like you can today. But instead of turning to the System for some kind of security or just complaining and accepting the Enemy's lies that we've failed, open your eyes to the financial plan that we and the Lord have made available to you; it's there for the taking.
226. If you're sincerely concerned about your future and how you're going to support yourself or your mate and kids, think about what Activated has to offer. Most preachers of the world are supported by their congregations. They hustle their support every week as they feed their flocks from the pulpit. They win those congregations; those people depend on their pastors to minister to them spiritually, and they're willing to support and tithe as a result. It's a Scriptural principle, and many of the congregation feel it's their duty.
227. You can do the same! If you start today‚ it might take a few years, but eventually you can have your own “congregation” of faithful converts and Active members who are supporting you and your Home through their tithes! And not only supporting you, but doing a lot of the hard work for you–-running the CTP ministries, teaching Bible studies, picking up provisioning, organizing meetings and seminars‚ etc.
228. It will take a considerable amount of time to cultivate this following, and you'll have to make a commitment to stay in the same area and really minister to your flock, for years! You can't be gallivanting all around and changing fields every few years. You need to find where the Lord wants you to be and stick to it! (See ML #3308:45-46, GN 908.) But if you want some “security” for the future, if you want some income you can count on, if you want to know you won't be having to hoof it out on the streets when you're much older, then get with Activated and follow-up now and win yourself a flock! Do it now while you have the strength and stamina to devote the time to it that it will require!
229. Quit complaining about things and get busy! You have everything you need to make your own “retirement plan” while serving the Lord full-time. We in WS have literally spent years to provide you with everything you need to do the job. You can't possibly complain that you don't have the materials. All you have to do is use them. Just do it! You are without excuse!
230. You don't have to compromise your convictions. You don't have to be a burden on others or your kids as you grow older. Use the strength and time you have now to build a following, win converts and Active members, teach and train them, and then their tithes will support you! That will be your “retirement plan,” your “social security.”
231. You can become a teacher, a shepherd, a counselor, a prayer warrior, a presenter of the Words that you have been so blessed to receive, a channel for the Lord's messages for those who need them. These ministries don't take as much physical strength and energy, but they take faith and love and conviction to step into the role that the Lord's trained you for all along. Hold on to your calling and crown till the end of your days by continuing to use the strength you have to do the Lord's work! The ministries of prayer and counseling, of healing, of hearing from Heaven for others, of teaching and grounding others in the Word, aren't limited to youth. In fact, they're ideal callings for you who are older, for you who have given the majority of your lives in the Lord's service, as you have so very much to give and are so experienced in giving it! If you find your energy and strength diminishing, then do what you can do, and invest your spiritual riches where they'll really count!
232. Quit listening to the damn Devil when he tells you you've failed, or that somehow you're going to suffer because you've given your life to the Lord instead of selfishly saving up money to live on when you're old! Open your eyes to the insecurity of the System! You don't honestly think all those poor people in the System have security and everything will be fine for them, do you? You have the only security that truly exists on Earth--trusting the Lord and having faith in His promises. But He does expect you to do something with that trust and faith. He expects you to work. So get out there and build your church, find your congregation; invest the time in winning those who have the money or means to support you. You're still young enough, and if you start now and really work at it, you'll have what you need, without your kids having to feel they have to leave the field to raise money for you! It doesn't have to be that way. “I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
233. While on this subject, I want to remind you that Charter membership is not guaranteed just because “you've always been in the Family.” Abner, one the COs of North America, had the following observations, which I think you'll find interesting and helpful:
234. There are Family members who feel that they are or should be CM because they've been in the Family so long, they've “always been in the Family.” It seems in nearly every case those who tend to express themselves in this way don't evaluate their present level of discipleship and check it with the standard of the Charter, our yardstick of minimal requirements defining a Charter Family member disciple. Some people need to step back and more objectively evaluate their level of service. Someone can love the Lord and love the Family and have made great sacrifices in the past in their service for the Lord‚ but if they're not willing to live the life of a disciple, then they're a former disciple or a retired disciple, but not a present-day one.
235. I know that there are a number of older FGAs in the Family who feel that as they get older that just by reason of their age they aren't able to keep the CM standard. And there are a number of SGAs who also feel that just because their parents or some older ones they know of who aren't CM anymore got older, they couldn't keep up with the CM pace. Some feel that it's not fair if, because of sickness or some affliction that might come with older age, someone isn't able to stay in the CM Family. In my opinion there isn't one Charter requirement that someone just about on their deathbed couldn't keep, and from what I've seen it's almost invariably because someone just doesn't want to make the sacrifices that come with serving the Lord as a disciple that they fall away from the CM standard.
236. Even in those cases where someone has had a serious illness or affliction‚ we have worked with them all we could to try to help them keep their CM status, if we knew that they were doing what they could and not compromising unnecessarily. But there are many people who feel that for one reason or another they can't keep the Charter requirements and that it shouldn't be held against them, and they feel justified in their reasons. In every case that I can think of, there were other compromises that were entering in that were really the reasons why the CM requirements couldn't be met. (End of Abner's comments.)
237. (Mama:) I'd like to ask you FGAs to please take some time to stop and evaluate your present level of discipleship and service for the Lord. Some good questions to ask yourself (as well as to ask the Lord) would be: “Am I compromising unnecessarily? Am I allowing compromise to enter my life that holds me back from meeting the CM standard?”
“Say Not Ye There Are
Yet Four Months!”
238. As for you young people who think you'll get some kind of financial stability by working in the System first and then you'll serve the Lord, remember what God said:
And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him (Mat.4:19-20).
And He said unto another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:59-60).
Say not ye there are yet four months … [much less four years!] (John 4:35).
239. (Mama:) This is slightly off the subject, but since it has to do with both finances, future security, and single-family Homes‚ I want to talk about it in this GN. It's on the trend of buying houses. Here are a couple of comments from COs:
240. There is a trend here, and I have heard of it in other places too, of buying houses. I think the main benefit people see of purchasing a house is the long–term advantage of not having to pay monthly rent, and having a place of their own‚ which some people look at as assurance of a roof over their heads, not needing to be voted into someone else's Home‚ etc.
241. Perhaps some of these goals are good to begin with, and some people do say they are embarking on such a project with the ultimate goal in mind that it will free them from a certain amount of their monthly fundraising so that they can concentrate more of their time and energies on outreach and follow-up and building up the national church in the area.
242. But we have seen in many cases that that goal is lost somewhere along the way, especially when months and months, sometimes stretching into a year or years, are needed in order to fundraise to meet the initial payments and liabilities incurred, fundraising or provisioning for materials to fix up the attic or basement of the small place they bought in order to give them a bit more room, decorate and furnish it, etc. This often takes quite a bit of time and is a burden and strain on the couple, and because they have usually embarked on this endeavor themselves (a couple with a few children), they don't have the backing or teamworking of a whole Home, or even another couple or family, and so they are “going it alone” spiritually and physically in order to see it through.
243. And then while they are going through this process of fundraising and provisioning and lots of physical work to fix the place up, some get used to a certain lifestyle, which is basically that of being able to live selfishly, without having to take others into their concerns and counsels regarding their Home and financial decisions. They begin to like it this way, and the end result is that they basically return to the type of living that they came out of when leaving the System to join the Family, and they're back to square one. Although having said they embrace the Family's teaching and beliefs‚ having compromised for the “security” of a place of their own, they compromise their living of our major goals, and by a lack of living a communal and Law of Love lifestyle for a long time, some have even lost their desire and conviction to try to get back to it.
244. Now we have quite a few of these one-family Homes in the same situation, each one having bought their house and thus not being free to move in with each other, and there not being enough single personnel answering their want ads in order to help bring these single-family Homes up to the minimum of four voting members.
* * *
245. Buying houses is getting to be quite a trend, which is somewhat related to the topic of compromise for worldly gain, though not always, of course. Certainly there are situations where the Lord leads the Family to buy their house instead of rent, but I'm concerned that the Family should be aware that there are definite risks involved, that it's definitely not for everyone, and to be able to keep in mind that there are great benefits to renting too.
246. One of the biggest drawbacks to buying is if those doing so are affected by the experience to the point that they buy a house at the expense of their discipleship. Bad deal, for sure. I think one way this can happen is because they get locked into a house that they can't sell, and end up drifting out of the Family because their numbers go down, their inspiration goes down, etc. Others may just get affected by the experience of getting too focused on the house purchase and off the purchase of the pearl of great price of their relationship with the Lord. In other cases‚ there are just the basic risks involved, not realizing all of the hidden costs of ownership, property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc. Other risks are not getting a good deal initially so that the resale price is a loss, or not realizing the amount of time you have to stay in order to pay off enough of the principal in order to break even or turn some profit.
247. And another angle to the trend is the danger of some of our Family starting to think that if so many are buying houses that as a Family we're drifting away from living the faith life, that it's more important now to start laying up for ourselves some sort of earthly retirement plan, etc. I hate for it to be at the cost of our not keeping our eyes on our main goals of witnessing, reaching the lost, and staying free from the affairs of this world.
248. Those that are now thinking of buying a house and renting it out later to give themselves support on the field later, are almost sure to find that it's not just going to cost them years of service, which they'll never be able to turn back the clock on in order to regain, but they most likely won't ever feel they've got “enough” support, or they'll get so into debt they can't get free, or they've lost the vision by the time they could. (End of comments from COs.)
249. (Mama:) Through the years there have been times when the Family has lived on property owned by Family members, when the Lord led that way. This option has always been open to us when it was the Lord's time and His will. One of the big differences that we're seeing today, however, is that this trend is more individuals or individual families that are doing so, and not in the manner of Acts 2:44 and 45, but rather in search of future security. Today, as our Husband is leading us to take our places for the Last Days, to be less roamers and gypsies, and instead to establish a solid work, then there may be room to consider, in some cases, putting your finances into paying off a mortgage rather than rent--if it is the Lord's will.
250. Some questions to ask yourself regarding this are: “Is this a private personal endeavor or is the vision to establish a communal effort? Are we proceeding with sufficient counsel? Are we fully informed of all the possible complications? Is the house big enough to house a good-sized Home? Will it take a lot of fixing up, which will distract us from our main job of witnessing?”
251. There are times when it might be the Lord's will to buy a house, especially if it's a big enough house that it can hold a significant “commune” for Jesus. But usually our members don't have enough money for really big houses, and it's proven to be ineffective to buy small houses. Things don't usually turn out the way you expect in such cases, and before you know it, you're saddled with a huge debt and a white elephant of a house. Just like … you guessed it, all the rest of the poor people in the System! So lots of prayer and counsel, hearing from the Lord and continuing to go back to Him for confirmations and leading is absolutely necessary when considering such a venture.
His Call Is “Go Ye,”
Not “Buy Ye!”
252. Here is some counsel from our Heavenly Real Estate Expert on how to judge the matter of whether to buy or not.
253. (Jesus speaking:) Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature! This is My basic message to all who would follow Me. And usually inherent in this very same message is the concept of “sell all that thou hast, and give unto the poor, and come, follow Me.”
254. When I asked the man to sacrifice his plough and oxen, it was his very livelihood, his machinery‚ his equipment that I was asking him to destroy in order to follow Me. At another time I told a man to “let the dead bury the dead, and come follow Me.”
255. The basic principle is that in order to follow Me fully, in most cases it takes the sacrificing of the plough and oxen, and the forsaking of absolutely everything, in order to be sure that you have grabbed ahold of that pearl of great price, discipleship.
256. Who knows what I will do next month, next year, and what My call to you will be? So the basic principle in being able to follow Me is to have no ties that hold you back and that keep you from doing My will. This is not to say there are not times when I do have someone purchase a property for a specific cause and purpose‚ but these are few and far between, because the general call for My Endtime Army is to reach out to feed the lost and build a work for Me, not to focus on feeding and caring for themselves and buying or repairing a house.
257. My call to find a field where you can stay and reap and plant your roots a while in order to do a good job does not necessarily mean becoming encumbered with property. It might be useful and My will in some cases‚ but in the majority of cases being encumbered with property can be a hindrance to My will, as many of you have found out.
258. The prime requisite is discipleship, and discipleship means following Me. Is the purchase of property and a house going to add to your discipleship, or is it going to detract from it? I dare say in most cases the end result is going to detract from it.
259. When I set the Family free through the Charter, the door to purchasing property was swung open, and many have experimented and tried this out, because there are many reasons that it appears to be a viable solution to many of your problems. But though it may solve some problems, in many cases it ends up being a greater detriment spiritually than it is a help physically, because it ties you down and keeps you from following Me.
260. This is why My original plan was to have My followers live communally, for then they would not need the principle of ownership to be able to afford their living. Instead, they all sold their lands and possessions, and laid the remuneration at the apostles' feet, and distribution was made to every man according as he had need. The fact is that an army needs fellowship, an army needs each other, and the purchase and ownership of lands and houses usually leads to division in the ranks, where the soldiers are no longer living in the barracks or in communal housing but off on their own. They say they still embrace the teachings of the army and its goals‚ but they are no longer able to participate in the army's campaigns and go out to the field on maneuvers, for their property requires their interest, time, and devotion in order to secure its viability.
261. Therefore, in the great majority of cases I would say that the purchase of a house and property will end up being more of a distraction and a hindrance to accomplishing My highest will; it will sap your discipleship, strength and conviction from you, and will end up owning a greater part of you than My will does. This is why any such purchases should be done in counsel, and the more counsel the better, for if you can bring your shepherds into the counsel, then chances are you will have a more well-rounded view as to which way I am really leading you in this endeavor.
262. Remember, if you insist, I often let you have your way, because I see you are determined to do a certain thing and it would really do no good to “force” you. But by placing your heart in My hands and desiring My will more than your own, you will be open to following Me whithersoever I go.
263. Remember, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world; therefore if you choose your own way, I will be with you there too. But how much happier you will be if you forsake your own way and grab onto My will and make that the pearl of great price that you would not forsake for anything-–not for security, not for safety, not for comfort, not for an easier life!
264. If this is your pearl, then grab it with all your heart and never let it go, for I have promised to keep you even unto your gray hairs. As My King David of old said, “I have been young, and now am old‚ yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread” (Psa.37:25). “He that forsakes houses or lands or mother or father or brother or sister or wife or children for My sake, shall receive a hundredfold in this life‚ and in the world to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). This is still true today. It is My call in order to secure full discipleship.
265. With Active members, general membership, etc., this may not be the case. But for you, My Endtime army who have been called to be ready to follow Me at a moment's notice‚ the price is often to not be entangled with the affairs of this life, that you may serve Him who has called you to be a soldier.
266. The basic principle to judge by is how it affects your commitment to discipleship. If your ownership of a house and property adds to your discipleship and does not detract from it in any way, then it's a blessing; it keeps you going forward for Me. But if it keeps you from discipleship, then it is a hindrance. It is a weight that besets you and hinders your taking up your cross to follow Me. It is a yoke that is weighty and a burden that is heavy because it is not My yoke or My burden. Judge ye which is best. (End of message from Jesus.)
267. (Mama:) Of course, it's a different situation if the Lord miraculously supplies a house for you. Say someone offers to buy you a house, or you inherit one, etc. There is the possibility that such a situation could be the Lord's way of providing your needs or some means of income. But there's a very big difference in the Lord just “dropping a house in your lap” as opposed to your leaving your full-time missionary work to raise money to buy a house for your own security and comfort. Please be very prayerful when entering into any long-term purchases of property and don't move forward with it until you're absolutely sure it's the Lord's highest will.
268. I know this is a long GN and it's difficult to grasp all the counsel. I pray you will have enough concern about your future and staying in God's will that you'll take the time to read it more than once, even to study it.
269. Remember, all these things tie in together. These many compromises for gain are hurting your personal fruitfulness and the effectiveness and future of the Family as a whole. If you're serious about being a disciple, pray about the matters discussed in this GN. Pray about how you're doing in the following points: Living communally, sharing all things as per Acts 2:44 and 45, working hard for the Lord, doing “double time” if necessary to pioneer and establish a follow-up ministry with lasting fruit and support, making whatever sacrifices are necessary to be dropped out, and not being encumbered with the cares of this life.
A Checklist to Assess
Your Personal Obedience
270. To close this GN, I want to share with you the Lord's checklist regarding how you're living and supporting yourself. If you honestly assess your personal obedience, I believe a lot of change will come about as a result. There are very important questions here that you need to seriously think about and ask the Lord about. Please take the time to hear from the Lord in prophecy, desperately praying that you'll have a clear channel through humility, desperation and yieldedness.
271. (Jesus speaking:) They that preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel. If you seek first My Kingdom, all will be added unto you. This is the crux of the matter. The lack of fulfillment of My Word is due to disobedience.
272. I have given promise after promise; I have laid out in explicit detail where I am leading and what I want the Family to do. I have not failed in one of all My promises. Ask yourself these questions. Also, ask Me to speak to you in prophecy about the following questions:
1) Lord, am I doing all I can to obey Your Word to the best of my ability? Am I an obedient and diligent follower in every way? (The Lord supplies for His children in direct proportion to our obedience to His will in every area of our lives. He has heaped abundant spiritual riches on the children of David. He has given detailed instruction, covering how He wants me to live in every area of my life, what He wants me to do. Disobedience in any area of my life will limit the Lord's resources.)
2) What kind of sample of a Christian am I on a daily basis? How much compromise of my convictions have I allowed in my life? If someone were to spend a day observing me as an individual, what would they conclude is my profession? Lord, am I hot, cold, or lukewarm?
3) Am I staying in close communication with You, Lord? Am I fellowshipping with You? Am I checking in with You before I make a move?
4) Dear Husband, am I neglecting Your Word, either in feeding from it myself or in giving it out to others? Am I drinking in Your Word daily, receiving the nourishment and strength, the guidance and counsel You have for me?
5) Am I following where You are leading? Am I pushing Activated, giving Your Word to the lost, making disciples of all nations? Am I loving others, giving my utmost to reach them and help them, broadening the borders of my tents, opening my doors to gather in Your last great harvest, going out into the highways and byways to gather them in? (Where the Lord guides, He provides. This is where He is guiding.)
6) How can I improve the witness in the fundraising methods I use, Lord? How can I incorporate more follow-up and in-depth witnessing?
7) How do I spend my time? How much of my time is spent preaching the Gospel in comparison to all the other things I do? What are my first thoughts of the day? Do I wonder how I'm going to put bread on the table, or how I'm going to spread the Word?
8) Am I living Acts 2:44 and 45? Am I living together with others? Am I sharing all things? Am I following Your plan, Lord, for good economics?
9) How do I spend the finances You supply? (Waste not, want not. The Lord does not support what He has not ordained.)
10) Am I working for You, Lord, or for Mammon? Am I working hard for You? Am I putting my hours in, doing all I can to the best of my ability to preach the Gospel to the lost?
11) Is it Your will for me to quit my System job, Lord?
12) (For FGAs:) How can I personally tap in to the “retirement plan” You have provided through Activated? What steps do I need to take today to begin cultivating my “congregation”?
13) (If you're contemplating buying a house:) Lord, how do You see this? Is this a private personal endeavor, or is the vision to establish a communal effort? Are we proceeding with sufficient counsel--both from others and from You, Lord? Are we fully informed of all the possible complications? Is the house big enough to house a good-sized Home? Will it take a lot of fixing up, which will distract us from our main job of witnessing?
14) Am I putting You to the test, Lord? Am I proving You? Am I standing on Your promises and Your promises alone? (The Lord is not limited by many or by few. He has promised to open the windows of Heaven, but I must do my part.)
15) Am I really depending on You, Lord? Am I desperate with You? Am I claiming Your promises? (If my faith is in anything other than the Lord and His Word, I limit His source of supply.)
16) Am I calling on the power of the keys of the Kingdom to open the windows of Heaven of supply? Am I using all the new weapons of the spirit that will activate and enhance my spiritual power?
273. If you do your best for Me, I will do My best for you. The crux of the matter is simple: My supply is dependent on your obedience to what I tell you to do. (End of message from Jesus.)
274. (Mama:) We are praying for you desperately that you will obey and find the Lord's will for your lives, and rid yourselves of any compromise for gain. If not, you will not find the success you hope for, but will, instead, only find disappointment. You are accountable for the truth the Lord has given you, and His blessing in your life will depend on your obedience.
275. If you feel lacking in power or inspiration, if you're too tired to even stir yourself up to try to do better, if you feel you're too deeply entrenched in the System or too weak in faith from compromise to get back to full discipleship, cry out to the Lord for help! Don't wait. Don't say you'll do it later or tomorrow. Do it now! Call on your Husband and ask Him to give you faith. Call on His strength to help you change and get back on the track of uncompromising discipleship, and then ask Him to help you learn how to use the power of the keys of the Kingdom. If you'll use the keys, you can call on their power and receive whatever help you need. All you have to do is yield and obey. It's there for the asking, so just ask!
276. The keys rule! Remember, the Lord promised: “Command Me, the Keeper of the Keys, to work on your behalf through the power that I readily and freely give you. I will overcome all impossibilities for you, My Brides, because you turn the keys of the Kingdom.”
With desperate prayer for you, dear loves,
Following are some relevant, mostly recent, Letters and publications on the various topics this GN covers:
Jobs versus missionary work:
* “The Prodigal Son,” ML #641:31-49, Vol.5
* “The Summit '96 Letters, Part 3,” ML #3079:146-150, Lifelines 23
* “The Summit '96 Letters, Part 4,” ML #3081:3-8, Lifelines 23
* “Be a Missionary,” ML #3135, GN 744/Lifelines 24
* “Goals for 1998,” ML #3160:176-184, GN 765/Lifelines 24
* “Charter Responsibilities,” ML #3197:93-99, GN 803
Living Acts 2:44 and 45 versus selfishness:
* “Goals for 1998,” ML #3160:131-147, GN 765/Lifelines 24
* “The Benefits of the Family,” ML #3172:154-191, GN 777
* “Charter Responsibilities,” ML #3197:109-111, GN 803
* “Witnessing and Follow-up Pitfalls,” ML #3245:83-99, GN 847
* “Selfishness and Self-Centeredness,” Word Topics
Building a financial foundation/God's supply:
* “Rags to Riches” ML #211, Vol.2/DB5
* “God's Guarantees,” ML #1027, Vol.9/DB1
* “God's Financial Blessings,” ML #2813, GN 527/Lifelines 20
* “From Poverty to Plenty,” ML #2929, GN 598/Lifelines 21
* “The Benefits of the Family,” ML #3172:134-137, GN 777
* “The Way Things Really Are in WS,” ML #3309:376-382, GN 911
Copyright © 2001 by The Family
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