When Andrew went to Scotland in the 1950's to train for missionary work, he was shocked by one of the assignments. He wrote:
"Mr. Dinnen (the instructor) explained, 'It's an exercise in trust. The rules are simple. Each student on your team is given a one-pound banknote. With that you go on a missionary tour through Scotland. You're expected to pay your own expenses...'
"'All on a one pound note?' I asked.
"'Worse than that. When you get back to school after four weeks, you're expected to pay back the pound.'
"I laughed. 'Sounds like we'll be passing the hat all the time.'
"'Oh, you're not allowed to take up collections! Never. You're not to mention money at your meetings. All of your needs have got to be provided without any manipulation on your part - or the experiment is a failure.'
"I was a member of a team of five boys. Later when I tried to reconstruct where our funds came from during those four weeks, it was hard to. It seemed that what we needed was always just there. Sometimes a letter would arrive from one of the boys' parents with a little money. Sometimes we would get a check in the mail from a church we had visited days or weeks earlier. The notes that came with these gifts were always interesting. 'I know you don't need money or you would have mentioned it,' someone would write. 'But God just wouldn't let me get to sleep tonight until I had put this in an envelope for you.'
"... We stuck fast to two rules: we never mentioned a need aloud, and we gave away a tithe of whatever came to us as soon as we got it, within 24 hours if possible..."
This exercise was a crucial one for Andrew, because God's calling upon his life was to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain in the USSR, which he did for decades. His faith and courage needed to be tangible. His faithfulness with monetary donations, not clinging to them, but trusting them straight into God's hands, needed to be sure. As I read this story as a college student, dreaming about what God might do through me in my life, I began to ask God to give me this kind of faith, as well. I wanted - and still want! - to live a life that proclaims the certain reality and glory of our God, that yields eternal praise to his great name. And over and over I have found our faithful God answering my prayer.
What if everyone in God's church yearned for this?