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07/27/2023 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In the heart of Vietnam, many years ago, I embarked on a journey to meet with victims of persecution. It was a perilous undertaking, as the pastors accompanying me knew that if discovered, they would face imprisonment (and likely lose their lives behind bars).

With great caution, I requested the gathering of imprisoned pastors’ wives from all corners of the country. Our purpose was to provide aid and support to these courageous women who bore the weight of their husbands’ unjust captivity. As they entered the meeting place, the depth of their suffering etched across their faces told a profound story.

These wives had endured years of brutal persecution, reaching unimaginable heights of cruelty. Their husbands, confined within prison walls, experienced gruesome and inhumane torture. Some would return broken, requiring years for healing, while others faced sentences so lengthy that survival seemed impossible.

I shared with them our plans to assist them and presented a financial gift. And I watched as an indescribable burden lifted from their weary shoulders. Tears mingled with smiles, as they embraced one another in joyous gratitude.

To our astonishment, more wives arrived than we had anticipated, and our resources dwindled. It was at this critical moment that I decided to contribute some of my personal funds to support several families. Though the sum was seemingly insignificant to me, its impact on the lives of these women was immeasurable. The rescue of a family required only a modest amount, yet in the act of giving, I received a profound gift myself. The truth in Jesus’ words resounded within me – “Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This experience became one of those rare moments in my life where I lived out this lesson in an unparalleled manner. As I poured out my resources, the presence of God poured into my heart like a river, and the blessing I received far exceeded any “financial loss” I had contributed.

It is so easy to read passages like this in scripture and know it’s true. Even nonbelievers know how good it can feel to help those in need. But still, our culture incessantly preaches the pursuit of money, asserting that it is the path to fulfillment, success, and blissful existence.

Yet, those who have tasted financial prosperity, sitting atop their accumulated wealth, understand the emptiness it brings. Money can give you choices and lots of fun, but it can never provide true life.

The reason we experience such profound joy when we give is that we align ourselves with God’s economy and His very nature. In His upside-down kingdom, it is through giving that we receive, through losing that we gain, and through dying that we discover life.

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