Last week at church, we had a white elephant gift exchange. When my turn came, I chose to take my chances with an unopened gift. Digging through the weighty box, I uncovered an envelope of scratch-off lottery tickets … and a brick.
Strategically wheeling and dealing, I also left church that night with an envelope of scratch-off lottery tickets … and a brick.
Which exposed my naivete. How exactly do scratch-off lottery tickets work? I had no idea. I asked around the office and discovered that my fellow missionaries have never played the lottery either. Who’da thunk it? So I googled it.
The first response I found was, in essence, “Look, if you’re too stupid to figure out how to work a scratch-off lottery ticket, maybe you’re too dumb to buy them.”
To which someone responded, “No, stupid people are the target audience for scratch-off tickets.”
While I did find that amusing, it wasn’t particularly helpful.
Finally I found my answer: “Scratch it all off.” OK. There you go. I scratch off everything.
But not just yet.
Shouldn’t I tell God how they work, too? I don’t imagine He’s ever bought a scratch-off lottery ticket either. And while I’m at it, of course, I could suggest to Him that this could be a great way to fund our ministry. Wouldn’t want Him to miss that opportunity, right?
Then I set to scratchin’.
Suffice it to say, the brick was the most valuable thing in the box.
I got a brick.
And that was fine with me because of a choice I made before I ever opened the box. A choice to be content. Satisfied not in “stuff,” but in God. In his book In the Grip of Grace, Max Lucado defines contentment as “a state of heart in which you would be at peace if God gave you nothing more than He already has.”
But hold on a minute.
If I’m content, why have I been telling you about our needs, and encouraging you to give?
That’s for your good.
You see, for something like ten years, our costs have been greater than our income, and God made up the difference. Don’t ask me how, but month after month we spent more than we took in and ended each month in the black.
And then we saw a dramatic drop in our income, and we began to accumulate debt. Julie and I sought God’s direction. Should we stay in this work? Was God directing us elsewhere? What did He want us to do?
God’s response was clear: Stay the course, but serve your partners better. He directed me to give you clearer and simpler opportunities to fund our work. Not because God isn’t capable of taking care of the whole thing Himself, but because His plan spelled out in His Word is that His people will meet the needs of missionaries. And if He tells us to do something, it’s for our own good.
So here you go.
Your gifts cut our outstanding need to $1,300 last month. Thank you! This month, I estimate our income will be $900 below our costs, so our December outstanding needs are $2,200.
If you’d like to give to our ministry, you can send a check, with a note that it is for the ministry of Ian and Julie Fallis, to Ethnos360, 312 W. First St., Sanford, FL 32771. Or you can make a secure gift online.