About thirty-five years ago, when Dad was visiting us in California, we went to see a friend I discipled during university days. He took us to an expensive restaurant for dinner. During our conversation, he asked my father, “What is your greatest need for the ministry?” At that time, this friend was doing extremely well financially, able to write 5-digit checks without any problem. After a pause, my dad replied,
My friend, a dynamic person, did not think my father understood his question. Again, he asked, “What is the greatest need for the ministry?” Again, my father answered, “Faithful men.”
I was also a little puzzled because I knew my friend was asking to fund a specific project. My friend thought that maybe he wasn’t communicating well, and he went on to other things.
A few years later, when my friend faced problems in his business, he remarked how often he thought of my father’s two-word answer. He had made a lot of money and started several businesses. He said my father’s answer changed his outlook.
After personally being in ministry myself for more than 50 years, I can say that is one of the most profound lessons I have learned from my father—the importance of faithfulness and the need for faithful men and women.
My parents’ lives reflected this faithfulness in little and big things. They demonstrated a life-long consistency. They were great in private, and great in their public ministry. Here are a few ways they demonstrated consistency:
- Their personal devotions and family prayer.
- Practicing systematic and sacrificial giving.
- Praying and keeping journals filled with prayer items.
- Diligent students of God’s Word and excellent, systematic teachers and expositors.
- Intentional to develop others for various kinds of ministry.
- Faith that came from their confidence in God and being in the center of God’s will.
- Christian forbearance in the face of false accusations and personal attacks from enemies of the gospel and false brethren.
- Practicality–seeing God’s presence in everyday life.
- Dressing and conducting themselves—not with ostentation, but to fit in any situation where both poor and rich could feel comfortable with them.
- Regard for truth as more important than popularity.
- Their relationship with each other remained close emotionally as well as in shared ministry, accepting, appreciating and admiring each other.
- Their simplicity made it possible for them to impact people from all walks of life.
- Their discipline cut out what was not necessary to focus upon what is essential.
- They gave themselves to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My parents fit the prayer of the person who prayed, “Lord, make me intensely spiritual, thoroughly practical, and perfectly natural.” They were spiritually natural and naturally spiritual. This will be their enduring legacy. Without them, my ministry and India Gospel Outreach would not exist. I praise God that in His grace, He chose them as my parents.