(Elder, CFC Tenkasi, Tamilnadu India)
(Testimony given at CFC Madurai, Tamilnadu, on 22 May 2020)
It is written that“Noah found favour in the eyes of God” ( Genesis 6:7-9). In the same way, in today’s crooked and perverse generation, I also found favour in the eyes of God. And that is why I am alive today.
I don't have any knowledge or wisdom (as it is written in 1 Corinthians 1:27). I have studied only up to 5th standard. But I am still a part of God’s plan. And that is what I am sure of.
There is a song that says that God keeps His saints in front of His face always. It is that light of God that has preserved me all these years. God has been very good to me, as it says in Psalm 84:11 : “God will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly”.
When I entered 6th standard, I had no money to buy even a pen or a pencil. So I could not go to school. My mother did not have money even for that. So, one day, I asked my friend in school for a pen. He refused to give me one. So I stole his pen and took it home, and used that to do my homework. I knew that if I took that pen to the class, my teacher would beat me. But God convicted me that it was not right to keep something that does not belong to me.
I was eleven years at that time. And I used to work to earn money by carrying mud on my head to load into a lorry. I got six rupees a day as wages. The cost of a pen in those days was one rupee twenty paise. So I bought a new pen for myself and returned the boy’s pen to him. He told me that he would complain to the teacher about my stealing his pen. That teacher would make students stand on a table and beat them in front of everyone. I was so afraid that I never went back to school again for the rest of my life.
I had a desire in my heart those days to be a doctor to help people medically. But God had some other plans for me. Now God has enabled me to help people spiritually – and I am thankful for that. God is good and He is faithful.
I lost my father when I was very young. But God became my heavenly Father. And He has blessed me in every situation – even in all the difficulties I have faced.
When I was 27 years old, my mother asked me what I planned to do in the future. She was concerned about me. But I told her that I did not have any worry at all about the future, because I had a Father in heaven. So I was never anxious about getting married or about having a house to live in. God has led me amazingly until now.
Brother Rathnakumar has been like an earthly father to me. He conducted my wedding and has guided me in my life. I was never dependent on any man. The Lord alone has led me thus far. And I believe the Lord will lead each of you also and bless you.
I have thought of the importance of being sincere . In that connection, I thought of Abimelech who took Sarah, because Abraham had said she was his sister, and Sarah also had said the same thing (Genesis 20). But Abimelech was a sincere man – and so God held him back him from sinning. In the same way, if we also are sincere in our hearts, God will protect us also from falling into sin. God saves all who fear Him.
Right up to this day, God has preserved me to be faithful in money matters – and in other matters. From my own failure, I taught my children never to take anyone else’s pen or anything else. And if they lost their pen, God has now blessed me such that I can buy another one for them, quite easily. But we must never bring any dishonour to our heavenly Father in any way. I praise God that He has kept me rejoicing in Him right up to this day.
We are called to walk as Jesus walked and to manifest His life both by our words and by our deeds. If we are not sincere, our hearts will become hardened, as Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. But Abimelech’s heart was sensitive because he was sincere. If we are sincere, our hearts will become sensitive and God will speak to us as He spoke to Abimelech. Our heavenly Father wants to speak to us. He has given us His anointing to teach us His ways.
In the shop where I am working, there is always an amount of 100,000 to 150,000 rupees, in the cash-box. Neither I nor my boss know the exact amount at any one time. But I live before my heavenly Boss, and so I never misuse any of the money in that shop. I pray to my Father to help me to keep the money safely, without making any mistake – and God has helped me thus far.
Sometimes when I ask my boss for a day’s leave to do some personal work he tells me to decide on my own and take leave at any time; and he said he would still give me that day’s salary! Such a job has certainly been given to me by my heavenly Father.
Our heavenly Father meets the needs of everyone of us. When God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden, He did not drive them out naked. He gave them clothes to wear. That was a mark of God’s goodness. But Adam was still not blessed by God – because the mark of God's blessing is sincerity of heart – and not just getting clothes to wear. I don’t find my joy today in the fact that God has enabled me to get a salary of 20,000 rupees per month. No. My joy is in my Saviour alone.
I used to sing to the Lord, in the days when I used to carry stones on my shoulder, to earn my living. And I sing to the Lord now, as I work in a shop. David sang, when he was a poor shepherd, saying, “ This poor man cried and the Lord heard his cry” (Psa.34:6). And when he became a king, he sang the same words, “ This poor man cried and the Lord heard his cry”. His song did not change. My song also has not changed – from when I was earning only 300 rupees a month to now when I am earning 20,000 rupees a month. The Lord has blessed me with the same song in my heart, even today.
Brother Zac has written in one of his books that nothing is eternal or permanent in this world. Only our Lord is eternal. All other things are only temporary. So I don't have any confidence in money.
Jesus said that it is the one who loses his life in this earth who will finally gain it. If you deposit money in a bank, it can bring you a little gain. But when we give up our self-life, we gain an abundant life – eternal life.
These days God is showing me this way of losing my self-life so that I can gain the life of God. Where will we gain that life? In heaven? No. We can get the life of God, right here on this earth. Our heavenly Father gives us back a hundred-fold of what we give up for Him. That is how God has been leading me and my family so far – and that is how He is leading our church as well.
We sing in a song that the sons of the kingdom will rejoice always – and no-one can take away that joy. That is how I have been living. During the past 20 years, I can honestly say that I have not had any complaints against anyone. God told me that others may have the right to have complaints against me. But I have no right to have a complaint against anyone – because I belong to a heavenly kingdom. That is why I rejoice always and have no complaints at all. If the peace we have is truly given to us by God, then no-one can take it away from us.
My own brother told me at one time that he would divide our ancestral property and build a house for me. So, he demolished our old house and constructed a new one. But after constructing it, he told me that that he could not give me any house. He told me to leave the house and never to come to that house again. I told him that Iam perfectly happy, since my kingdom is not of this world. I told him that since my heavenly Father is very powerful, He would build a house for me in the same place. But he was angry with what I said and came to beat me. I told him that I was not in competition with him, but that I knew Whom I had believed in.
After one year I began to construct my own house. I started the work with just 5000 rupees. The house is now completed and I spent 600,000 rupees to build it. But I never borrowed a single rupee from anyone for building it. Our God is a mighty God. I can think of many situations like that in which God has helped me.
When my brother saw this, he came to me and started talking to me again. Then he asked me if I would join him in digging a well for both of us. But once again, after the well was dug, he told me never to come near the well, since it was his! His attitude to me remained the same. I told him then that the treasure that God had given me in my heart was love and peace. And I would never give up that love and peace for some earthly things like a well and a house.
Later on, God convicted my brother of his unrighteousness, and he divided the property with me and gave me the document for my property as well.
Jesus said, “You are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” If we don’t argue and fight for earthly things, then God Himself will fight for us. This is how my heavenly Father has led me up until now. It is only along the path of righteousness that there is life. There is no death along that path. In every situation, if we have this life within us, we will be able to keep our heads lifted up.
While I was traveling in a bus once, a policeman was sitting next to me. He asked me what was in the parcel that I had with me. I told him that it contained books that I was going to put in a book stall. He asked me how much it weighed. I told him it weighed 35 kilograms. He told me that if the bus-conductor asked me how much it weighed, I should say, “15 kilograms” – because, he said, that if I said “35 kilograms”, the conductor would charge me a full ticket-fare (because that was the rule). I told the policeman that I am a Christian and that I would never tell a lie – and also those were Christian books in the parcel. I told him that I would tell the conductor the truth and whatever the conductor charged me, I would pay. The policeman then just kept quiet. When the conductor came by, he asked me what the parcel contained, I said, “Christian books”. The conductor then asked for one of the books. I gave him a book – and he read a little bit in it. He then told me that I need not pay any charges at all for my parcel! I have seen God work like this at many times in my life. All this is not my righteousness but the life and the righteousness of Christ, my Lord.
When Moses, Joshua and Caleb worshipped God in the Old Testament, they saw what a great God their God was. We can also know Him like that. We must not be satisfied with knowing just some doctrine about God. We must know the One Who gave us that doctrine. Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “ If you had known Who I was, you would have asked Me for the living water ”. Even so, we must know Who Jesus is, if we are to have the living water.
When someone comes to me and asks me for money, I tell him that I am just a human-being and so I can give him very little. But I tell him that if he goes to God and asks Him, God will make him a giver. Isn’t that better – to become a giver? That is how God has been leading me.
I often meditate on 1 John 2:12-15. “Do not love the world and the things of the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life are all of the world.” We are called to look at the things that are unseen always and never at the things that we can see.
If a child has to walk on an uneven road without stumbling, he must look down all the time and walk. But if a Christian is to walk in this uneven world, without stumbling, he must look up all the time and walk. Then he will never stumble. This is something that many Christians have not understood.
Jesus said that if anyone honoured Him, then He and the Father would honour that person. God has called us to this higher life. It makes no difference to God whether we are poor or rich, educated or illiterate. It was through the ministry of our elder brother in the CFC church, that God led me along this way.
In the days to come we must make a covenant with God – a covenant to take up the cross daily. I am crucified to the world. Is it possible for a crucified man to want to commit sin? Can a crucified man want to seek his own at any time?
I do not live my life, trusting in my wife or my children or on anyone else to help me. I have tried to live so far, depending on the Lord alone. The Lord showed me that the whole world was seeking their own in everything. And He asked me if I wanted to live that type of life.
Many brothers have walked this way of the crucified life ahead of me. I want to follow their example. Due to my lack of knowledge there are still many foolish ideas that I have in my mind. But I want to be sincere in my heart to the Lord without any hypocrisy. I am encouraged by Psalm 32:2 that says: “Blessed is the man in whose heart there is no hypocrisy (guile) ”.
I was baptized at the age of 16. God gave me a zeal to live for Him. It is now 21 years since I came to this church (CFC). But I have come to know my elder brother in CFC closely, only for 17 of those years. Through many godly examples that I have seen, I have learnt how to live a hidden life before God alone. God has anointed me and kept me safe in the brotherhood. I am deeply thankful to God for all my brothers.
God blessed Abraham and made him a blessing to many nations. God has called us also to be a blessing to many. But for us the blessing is not earthly wealth. It is the blessing of the divine nature and the peace of God.
In front of the shop where I work, I often see butchers dragging cows & oxen to their slaughter-houses. I know that the next day they will all become meat for someone to eat. Some of those animals are dragged along mercilessly, while others are urged forward gently. But whether they are led mercilessly or gently, they are all still killed in the end. In the same way, honour and dishonour in this world are both the same for us. What honour does a cow get, that is going to be killed the next day? Nothing. Even so, I have seen that the world’s honour or dishonour are both worthless in God’s eyes. Even if we are like dirt in the eyes of others now, God will make us like precious gold one day. He will purify us and bless us.
We must never think highly of ourselves or get involved in matters that are too big for us – as it says in Psalm 131:1. If we remain humble like that always, we will be a blessed people. May God bless us all. Amen.