by Marie Agustin
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How will you manage your assets if God entrusted you with three properties? Will you liquidate two of those assets that you are not using? Will you lease it to get an earning? Will you check the feasibility of converting the two into a money-making business so it adds to your net worth? What would you do? This is what we did. This is our story.
My husband and I came from ordinary families. When I say ordinary it means we are not financially wealthy. Both our parents were earning just enough for food, clothing, shelter, and education. We met during our university years. What made us closer is our common denominator – we are both Christians, both civil engineering students, and both diligent in our studies. Romeo, my husband, was a university scholar. I was a scholar of my parents. Hard work and dependence on God were the two factors that made us through the university years. We finished our degrees after four and a half years of studying. That was liberating for me because our professors were fond of giving passing grades - C. Romeo was exempted from this torture. God has given him the ability to understand engineering concepts quickly.
As God joined us together, I noticed that God provided Romeo with the ability to plan ahead. He made me live a simple life even if his salary goes higher and higher. I often complained then because I couldn’t understand why I had to save when I knew there was more to spend! Whenever we plan our annual budget, we would end up fighting because we went in different directions. I wanted to spend, spend and spend. Romeo wanted to save, save and save. Our marriage relationship was pretty shaky for 14 years because of different financial outlook.
But Romeo put up with me. He said that when he married me, it was a package – no return and no exchange. He married my past, my present and my future. That was unconditional love! Meanwhile, our net worth was growing – not because of my spending, but because of Romeo’s saving. After three years of marriage, God entrusted us to own a property on the southern part of a city in an Asian country. The previous owner sold his rights to us and we assumed his mortgage. We bought the place by God’s grace. The previous owner allowed us to pay the selling price of the property for a few thousand monies and a bunch of Thailand gold jewelries with a 75% appreciated value. When our whole family migrated to Canada in 2001, we allowed a pastor and his family to use that place for ministry – rent-free: a sound and wise investment. Not here on earth but in heaven.
After 13 years of marriage, our net worth was growing even more - not because of my spending habits but because of Romeo’s penchant for saving. God allowed us to own a second house. My husband and I did the structural designs of it. My sister-in-law did the architectural designs. We built a house with six rooms, five toilets and baths, and we bought new furnishings for it. This house was our ‘pampered baby’ was we put our thoughts and time to it. After a year of living there, we had to leave it – the house and all its furnishings – so we could experience life in a developed country and raise our four children there. Today, this house was being used as a student center. University students with no monies to pay rent live in this place. A missionary couple rent the place for about $100 a month plus utilities. The rent payment goes to the monthly amortization of the first house. We have no profit on this house either. Not here on earth, probably in heaven.
I often asked myself how come I am not thinking like an MBA graduate. How come my husband didn’t think likewise? How come we had to let go of our knowledge of financial ratios in order to please the God that provides for our needs? How come we believe that too much knowledge of the concepts of this world, if not guarded by God’s words, shrinks our faith in the capabilities of God?
As I read 1 Kings 17:1-16, I was touched by God’s unimaginable power. Verse 16 states: …the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry... The widow from Zarephath shared bread and water to Elijah – the food that she thought was her's and her son’s last meal.
Those two properties entrusted to us are like the widow’s bread and water. My husband and I thought that divesting those properties and bringing extra cash in Canada would alleviate us from money problems as we adjust life in a new country. More than three years have passed since we moved: all our needs have been provided for. Romeo works as a structural engineer. I work in a non-profit organization. Our four kids are growing fast – all healthy and doing well in school. There’s always food on the table. Housing mortgage is paid on time. No bad debts. Every single cell in our body is happy.
“Lord, help us to be thankful in your Lordship. You provide when it seems hard to believe. We depend on our savings, on our salaries or income, for our daily provision. And yet you have proven so many times that your financial formulas are much more dependable that human concepts. Help us to cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of you. Help us to show a good testimony of dependence on you. Give us eyes that see your will. May our children see our faith in you and dedicate all the days of their lives to you as well.”
The reason Romeo and I live is to give honor and glory to His name. In the first place, the chief purpose of men is to honor and glorify Him. That is a wise investment. And all the things that He will entrust to us here on earth are just means to magnify His holy name. May the word of God dwell in you richly.
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By investing part of your earthly possesions for God's Kingdom, you will be blessed even more as you have been blessed now. I praise God that you humbly offer Him not only your heart, but you give Him back what He had given you. Thank you for reminding us of what we are here for as children of the Most High God. May those who will read this be blessed as well. Thank you Marie for sharing this well-wriiten testimony. -Gloria