Jesus told his disciples not to take a purse on their kingdom journey. Yet most people who do the World Race use personal money to supplement the money allocated for basic expenses.
What's the right thing to do? Jan-Luetje Thoden lists 11 reasons why you should try doing what Jesus prescribed:
God called me to take no personal money and no credit card or debit card on the Worldrace. It has been an amazing experience so far. I would always do it again. I wrote down 11 reasons why I recommend you to do it, too.
1. It humbles you
Sometimes I feel poor in comparison to fellow racers. I stand in a supermarket and see cookies for 15 cents. But I cannot afford them. I haven't had money in my pockets for a couple of weeks. I feel a glimpse of what it is like to see opportunities that seem so close but are so far away. And others don't seem to notice.
2. Jesus called his discliples to do the same
"Carry no money belt." (Luke 10,4) Jesus told his disciples to create a situation in which they had to rely on God. It didn't come to them naturally, it was a decision.
3. What's the worst that can happen?
Food and lodging will be provided. This whole thing is actually not too risky. The worst that can happen is no fast food, unlimited snacks and fancy days-off.
4. You become more thankful
One day my man Steve and I got stuck on a highway in the Peruvian desert for 9 hours. After running out of food and water a man that I hadn't even noticed before gave me two bananas. At home I wouldn't even notice if you stole two bananas right out of my kitchen. But back then, they seemed like so much to me and were such a blessing. They made me so happy. God gave me my favorite fruit and I hadn't even asked for it. I learn to see all the little things that God puts in my life daily and become more appreciative of them. Thus, my attitude changes and I become a more thankful and happy person.
5. You learn to receive
God and others want to bless you and to give you things! Jesus told us to pray: "Give us today our daily bread." You have to put down your pride and thoughts that tell you that you are too good to receive. If God or others give you something from a place of love, go for it!
One night in Lima our team went out to dinner. Afterwards, some people wanted to get ice-cream. I was one of them. But I only had 10 dollars and I didn't think it was okay to spend them on ice-cream. How could I deal with money that way? But I really wanted some ice-cream. And I felt that God was telling me that I could get it.
"Really? Are you sure about this, God?" Right at that moment Steve was repeating the lyrics of a song back to me: "Jan, now is a good time" (or something like that). So I went over to McDonald's and got ice-cream. Steve was in line behind me and I thought that it would be nice of me to treat him to some ice-cream, too. I tried my best, but he wouldn't let me! "Nope, don't worry about it." Instead, he paid for me. God gave me ice-cream.
Comfort food? Not for you! You cannot afford Coke, Oreos & Co.
7. You see what you actually need
I have spent a day fasting without food and other days with two meals. It's not too bad! Why do I feel entitled to have 3 meals a day? Why am I giving food the power to ruin my day? No matter what you are eating or how you are living, it will be better than what any person gets that you are ministering to. Do I really "deserve" more than what they have, is their food really not good enough for me?
8. God will confront you with the fear of not being taken care of – and He will take it away
One day we were in Lima and I was preparing to leave for Huacho the next day. That's a town a couple of hours from Lima where I spent a year in 2011. I had to save my daily food money for the bus tickets. Our team went out to dinner the day before but I didn't order anything. I was hungry, but okay.
On our way back I wasn't okay with it anymore. "God, please give me something to eat." I was down. I was frustrated and felt lost because I had no idea where the food would come from. At around 11 pm it was so bad that I decided to spend the money for the bus tickets on food. So I went out to go to a store. I heard God's voice: "Do you trust me?" I pushed it away angrily and kept walking. I heard it three times.
When I came to the store, it was closed. On my way back to the hostel I felt desperate and without hope. "God, don't you know that I am hungry? How can you let me down like this? And I thought I can trust you."
I had been placed in another room that night. Our coaches Randy and Betsy had been in it before. And when I entered the room I found a table full of food they had left. It was more than I could eat. The next day in Huacho people treated me to breakfast (twice), lunch (I even had to turn down two invitations), dinner (we took leftovers) and ice cream (three times throughout the day by different people). "Do you trust me?"
9. You learn to depend on God
I know now that God loves me and wants to provide for me. The other night, Steve, Jeff, and I were traveling from Bucharest to our ministry site. We were waiting at the train station. It was already late and I had had dinner. However, I got hungry again. So I asked God if He could give me something to eat. And I knew that He would answer my prayer.
Some time later, Jeff said: "I have to go to the bathroom, but at KFC they only let you use it if you're getting something. The good thing is that I am hungry, can I bring you guys anything?" 10 minutes later I had a nice chicken wrap in my hands.
10. You will understand the people better that you are ministering to
I mean, you will still be pretty far away from their lives and struggles. But you get an idea. You are unable to just go and buy the things you like. And I don't mean that you live on a low budget and have to be mindful about your spending. You actually cannot buy anything you like. It's tough.
I used to spend a lot of time worrying about myself and about what I would eat or how I would spend my money (I am kind of frugal). Now I know that God cares for me. I don't have to care for myself. I just ask him for what I need and He gives me even more. Now I am free more time to care for God and others.
So: At what point in your life could you do something like this if not on the Race? Take a step of faith, pray about it, save money. God asking me to leave my money behind has had a huge impact on my experience on the Race and on my relationship with God. I promise you that it won't kill you. You will actually be more alive.