As a parent, I must confess that I am often worried about my children’s future. Many of us contend with a high cost of living, a competitive job market, and an unpredictable economic climate.
This is why I had huge concerns when I considered entering the mission field with my family. Up till that point, my life seemed almost ideal: I had a secure job, my wife was working part-time, and my sons were enrolled in a good school. We had their future all laid out.
Then, through a series of events, the Lord gently reminded me of a promise I made years ago when I first became a Christian—that I would go into the mission field if He called me.
With my family comfortably rooted in Singapore, I came face to face with God’s call, perhaps feeling like how Abraham might’ve felt when God commanded him: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1).
Why Now, Lord?
Despite my promise made to the Lord long ago, I was plagued with doubt, fear, and reluctance.
Why now, Lord? What about our children? Our lives are already settled here in Singapore. If I were still single, or if we had no kids yet, then I could easily pack up and go! But now . . . there’s just so much to worry about for them.
I told myself that these were real and justifiable fears. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to obey the Lord—I was just pleading with Him to be reasonable. Now was just not the right time.
One quiet night, as I stayed up late thinking about the situation, I stumbled upon an online sermon. The preacher shared how the Lord had challenged his perception that it was impossible for him to be a part of mission work because of his children. As he wrestled with the Lord, he felt Him asking: “What inheritance are you leaving for your children?”
That question hit me hard.
Hidden, Heavenly Treasures
Up to this point, we had been relying on our own strength to provide for our children’s future. Though we professed faith in God’s provision, our daily conversations at the dinner table spoke otherwise, as we more readily discussed school reports or financial plans. Honestly, matters of faith were usually confined to Bible study meetings and Sunday service!
Yet, in Matthew 6:19–24, Jesus directly cautioned against focusing solely on such things. Earthly treasures will not last forever. In some cases, despite all the hard work put in to acquire them, they can disappear in an instant. On the other hand, heavenly treasures once gained can never be taken away.
Back in Jesus’ time, money and prestige were also a source of concern and covetousness for the ordinary Jew. Rome had conquered Jerusalem, and the people were experiencing hardship under their oppressors. Wealth and land, honour and influence, and other forms of inheritance would have appeared to offer some security for one’s life. Yet, as Jesus was teaching them, all these could easily disappear in the future.
Jesus went on to remind His disciples not to be anxious about their lives, but to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to [them] as well” (Matthew 6:33).
In His parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value, Jesus also described how truly valuable the kingdom of heaven was in comparison to all other treasures, such that those who discovered it would give up everything they had to obtain it (Matthew 13:44–46).
Modelling Faith—By Simply Obeying
As a parent, it can be easy to think that the responsibility of raising my children and providing an inheritance for them falls solely on my shoulders.
However, the reality is that they are, first and foremost, God’s children. He loves them far more than I ever will, because He sent Jesus to die for them. And He promises to provide for them because He knows them, and therefore also knows what they need.
If I live by faith and share this burden of raising my children with Jesus, my duty as a parent would become much lighter. It would also mean that I need to teach them these truths about God, so that they, too, will know their heavenly Father, and learn to trust and follow Him.
Slowly, I came to realise that one way I could do this was by simply obeying God’s call, and in so doing, model to them what faith looks like.
Following God’s path has not always been easy. Even after I chose to obey Him and go into the mission field, many practical questions still lingered.
Yet, the mood was now different. No longer did I feel alone in this struggle, for I knew that the Lord was there with us.
We told our children how the Lord had called us to go into the mission field, and that they were an important part of it, too. We shared our struggles, fears, and doubts openly with them. We encouraged them to trust God’s plan for us and believe that He would take care of us. We prayed with them often—and sometimes, they prayed for us, too!
As a missionary, I am wholly reliant on the Lord to provide for my family’s needs. This means that all my plans for my children have to be laid before the Lord first, as I cannot rely solely on my own strength or resources when making decisions for them.
At times, the experience has been scary, as I don’t like uncertainty. But through the many ups and downs of our journey as a missionary family, my children have personally come to experience the Lord’s love and providence.
I pray that my children will receive a living faith in our Lord Jesus, that they would trust Him in good times and bad, and go wherever He calls them to and live as He lived.
Such faith is an inheritance that is worth far more than any riches on earth.
This article was originally published on Pastoral Perspectives by True Way Presbyterian Church—English Congregation. Adapted with permission.
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