Eugene Cho

the $10,000 tip and other crazies

I’m not always comfortable with talking about money and mixing it with language of provision, blessings, and God’s grace…but I know that there’s some legitimacy and truth in God desiring to bless His work in us…

What I mean by this is that I’m extremely uncomfortable when religious folks speak of the aforementioned things with absolute clarity. And consequently, it becomes a formula and we try to sell it:

a + b + c & if you abc = d = 10x = wealth

While I don’t believe it’s a science, I absolutely believe that

  • we’re called to be faithful in our stewardship and resources
  • we’re called to be generous
  • we’re called to live in faith and obedience and God honors and blesses His work

As I recall the occasions of the past 9 years since we planted Quest, founded Q Cafe, and gave birth to One Day’s Wages this past year, I can’t share with you the number of times I was drowning in worry, anxiety, and fear. Often times, the question that swirled through my mind were various forms of the following question:

How will I make it work?

But eventually, fear, anxiety, and doubt would submit to trust – with great protest…and God would somehow again remind me of my foolishness and His provision and Grace.

What are your stories of God’s crazy provision?

For me, the list is too many but I’d like to share with you three stories of God’s provision including one yesterday:

Quest – In the beginning, we were struggling to even come up with paying our monthly $200 rent! In the first few months, I was so anxious and then one Sunday,  a newer couple came to me and asked one of the stupidest questions in the history of Questerverse:

“We’re new to Quest but we feel convicted to tithe to this church. We were recently on Wheel of Fortune and won a load of money. Can we tithe to Quest?”

Q Cafe – The coffeeshop business is cutthroat in Seattle and in the first year we were really getting our butts kicked. A customer walked in, ordered a latte, and asked to meet with me. She shared her story and we had a great conversation.  She eventually left and handed me “a tip.” I didn’t think it was that big of a deal but when I looked at the envelope she gave me later, it was a tip for $10,000.

We make good lattes but they’re not that good.

One Day’s Wages – Yesterday, I received this check and it was specifically a grant for ODW. It’s not a huge amount but I can’t tell you how much it encouraged me. So much!

So many crazy stories. The craziest one might be the story of this church and community giving themselves and a $5-6 million dollar property to Quest.

Be faithful.
Be generous.
Be courageous.
Be hopeful. Be encouraged.

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
– 2 Corinthians 9:8

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12 Responses

  1. jchenwa says:

    Yeah, there are a lot of crazies out there. Thanks for that timely post, bro. Sometimes we don’t know what we’re doing, but GOD always does. And it’s very fulfilling to just be a part of what He is.

  2. Love the Wheel of Fortune couple. They don’t come around too often, do they? They just kind of pop up when they’re most needed, it seems.

  3. Eric says:

    Great Story! Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

  4. mo says:

    When I finally stated tithing about a year into being a Christian, my finances totally turned around. I was a mess, and didnt know how I could deal with 10% less than what was already always too little. But I did it faith, and crazy stuff happened almost immmediately.

    1) my dad paid off my house! he’s not even a Christian and had no idea that I’d started giving away 10%. (to be clear, he owned it and I was paying the mortgage as rent. But his decision to pay it off and let me live for free changed everything)

    2) I won a very competitive fellowship position (i was in grad school) and my salary went up by 50% overnight.

    3) I was offered a second job out of nowhere that only required a few hours work per week, from home, and paid 20/hr.

    I went from being broke to financial security in the span of a few months because I stepped out in faith and committed myself to tithing.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Christian Ray Flores. Christian Ray Flores said: check this out I’m not always comfortable with talking about money and mixing it with language of pro… http://bit.ly/9RV5eO by Eugene Cho […]

  6. Ben from TIC says:

    I can second tithing. Even though tithing is training wheels for giving, it’s the act of worship I most look forward to every month. God wants us to test him in this! That’s hard for me to swallow having grown up as a Calvinist. There are too many stories to tell. Just know that God has been gracious to me in his one-way love. Trust his promises and give. Make all you can, save all you can, and give away all you can.

    “Those who honor me I will honor” 1Sam. 2:30
    “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10

  7. EC,
    Love the honesty! One of the reasons I love our senior pastor so much is because he is so quick to admit that he doesn’t have it all figured out! Thanks for being transparent in your “story” so that God may receive the glory!

  8. Teresa says:

    My craziest story was coming home and having my husband explain his great idea that we should do a Thai food booth at the local country fair to raise money for relief Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Burma. My first thought was “This is crazy! (and where are we gonna get the money to even start)!” My next thought was, “Better talk to God about this.” I was on my way up the stairs to go ask God what a reasonable response was, when the phone rang, and a lawyer who had closed our house deal 6 years earlier was calling to say he was retiring, realized he owed us $800 and the check was already in the mail. God cares about people in need way more than we can imagine! While we are yet speaking He will answer…..

  9. Steve R says:

    As a pastor, I also hesitate sometimes to share stories like this for 2 reasons: 1) the afore mentioned “formula” effect you mentioned, and 2) like others I’ve been on that other end when people are talking about God’s blessings and I’ve wondered, “Why not me? What am I doing wrong?”

    With that said, I’ll share the latest…3 weeks ago I took a softball to the face and suffered 7 facial fractures. 5 of the fractures “healed on their own” according to the doctor, leaving only a deviated septum and an upper nasal fracture requiring surgery…that was blessing number 1. Blessing number 2 came 3 days before surgery, when out of the blue came a letter from a kid I taught in youth group 13 years ago when I was just starting out in ministry. He and his wife have a very successful business, and he had seen on Facebook about my ordeal. He felt “led” to send me a check, so that my ministry wouldn’t suffer due a worry over money…the amount of the check? The exact amount of our health insurance deductible, which will be eaten up with this injury and surgery. Not less than, not more than…the exact amount. I am still floored…

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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Everyone loves the idea of  reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. Charlottesville. So heartbreaking and infuriating. We weep and mourn over the hatred in the hearts of these white nationalists. We weep and mourn but we can't be defeated.

As I stare at this photo that's making its round on the internet, I'm reminded of the utter importance of showing up. I'm grateful for the news media, law enforcement, clergy, and peaceful protesters that are currently there to report, protect, pray, and protest.

And this is an invitation to us. May we not be mere bystanders. May we keep pressing forward. Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Commit to truth-telling, justice, reconciliation, peacemaking. Follow the ways of Christ. Every day. And it's important to note that we don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. In fact, it's more important that we do this exactly where we're at. May we live out the call to reconciliation in our churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, and around our dining tables. Lord, may it be so... We don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. We have to do this wherever were called to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. /// Thanks to those who let me know that the photo wasn't actually from today but rather from last month in Charlottesville. - https://www.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1551137301616258:0 Grateful for a spontaneous, last minute trip with Minhee to my old stomping grounds - San Francisco. 48 hours of visiting this special city that I called home for so many years.

Pic 1: Went to the Cliff House restaurant where we got engaged about 21 years ago to make out. Oops, sorry, I meant...to reflect on God's faithfulness over these many years.

Pic 2: Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge because it's such an iconic place - with some of the most incredible views.

Pic 3: Enjoyed a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon and pretended to be wine connoisseurs at a vineyard.

Pic 4: Had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Sam Tung, which boasts some of the best chicken in the country. And of course, we ate at In-n-out.

Pic 5: And finally, celebrated with the good folks at @thefreedomstory where @onedayswages received their annual Freedom Award. What an honor.

Grateful. Thankful for this sabbatical. Breathe.

Show yourself some grace.

We can't do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a joyful heart.

Amen A family that eats sushi together stays together.

Seriously, I don't ever remember eating so much as a teenager but these kids eat and eat and eat. Perhaps, the reason why this kid is pushing 6 feet tall. Grateful for a special treat with the family at @JaponessaSeattle. I'm sharing an obligatory, "I love and appreciate my wife, she's amazing" photo. Also...because I did something naughty...or brilliant. ;) Seattle is in the midst of a crazy heatwave. Near 100 degrees, hazy, and humid. An excessive heat advisory warning has also been issued.

So, Minhee and I needed to run some errands. It waa horrible but sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. It's also known as adulting.

So, I'm driving and the air conditioning seems to have minimal effect. Minhee is in the passenger's seat and umm, when she's not paying attention, I turn on her seat heater to 5 - the highest level. All along, she's complaining about how hot she is...for nearly an hour...until she finally realizes what I did.

Bam. Boom. Gotcha.

Minhee, I love you!

my tweets

  • RT @mrmedina: When Bryan Stevenson speaks, we do well to listen. https://t.co/o5GJD0KWR2 || 12 hours ago
  • "Mourn with those who mourn." Lifting up the people of Sierra Leone in prayers. Hundreds dead and many more missing… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 14 hours ago
  • Dear Barcelona: We are so sorry. We mourn the violence and tragedy in your beautiful city. We pray for healing and yearn for peace. Amen. || 1 day ago
  • Love wins in the end but meanwhile, it fights for things that matter. Love isn't sentimental. It's both gentle & fierce. Seek God's Kingdom. || 2 days ago
  • In response to racism, folks often say, "It's a sin issue." Yes...but don't be naive. Sin creates sinful systems: youtube.com/watch?v=LEbUa0… || 3 days ago
  • Everyone loves the idea of reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. || 5 days ago