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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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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