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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"He Makes All Things New." In other words, Christ is our eternal hope. I'm sitting in my swinging bench on the comforts of my front porch after an exhilarating and exhausting day at church. It never gets tiring, stale, or old to preach and proclaim the good news of the Gospel - not just on Resurrection Sunday but every week as we gather as the body of Christ.

But it was this picture of Coptic Christians in Egypt pouring into churches on Easter Sunday that deeply moved my heart...just a week after two churches were bombed by ISIS terrorists taking 45 lives and injuring hundreds.

Even in the face of persecution and suffering, I'm so grateful for the witness of these sisters and brothers in Christ. May they be comforted and strengthened...and wherever you are reading this post, stay encouraged. Be faithful and steadfast. Don't give up. May we keep running the race set before us as we fix our eyes on Christ.

It's not just there. It's all over the world...God is still at work. The Holy Spirit is still moving. God is not yet done. There's only one explanation: 
Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed! Jesus is alive! Hallelujah! #OneChurch Remember, there is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion; No Easter Sunday without Passion Friday; No empty tomb without the Cross.

So, before we move too swiftly to the celebration of the risen Christ, may we sit at the foot of the Cross...and consider the depths of His sacrifice and love. "Oh, what love is this..." Just when we think we get what it means to follow Him, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples including...the one He knew would betray Him,

and the one that would deny him,

and the others that would abandon Him in His greatest need.

What amazing love.
What amazing grace. Oh. What. Amazing. Grace. M(inhee) + E(ugene). Not taking anything for granted. 20 years = 7300 days = 175,200 hours. A flourishing  marriage doesn't just happen. The idea that two Christians who choose to get married will produce a Christ honoring marriage is a gigantic myth. Its also extremely dangerous. The truth is that it takes so much intentionality and work. Intimacy definitely includes physical touch but is not only about physical touch. We have to pray, read, listen, learn, mutually submit, confess, forgive, repent, laugh, dream, rest, play, and the list goes on.

In other words, we have to keep Christ at the center because it's inevitable, there's a lot of messing up. So much messing up. It's both beautiful and painful and without grace, it's impossible.

Grateful. Thank you, Jesus, for your grace. And thank you, Minhee...

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