Three Lessons on Giving from Joseph Pai

1. You’re Called to be a Pastor.

 “Growing up, I was hoping to be a pastor and wanted to be a pastor,” says Joseph. “At our school fellowship, everyone was praying about what God was calling us to do. People were feeling calls to missions. My best friend got a clear calling and became a pastor for more than 30 years.” “But I didn’t get that call,” Joseph says. “I felt a bit lost. I never imagined that I’d be a businessman.”

Joseph went on to spend 40 years in the business world and ended up as chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Taiwan. “But I realized in my fifties that ‘pastor’ is not just a title for people working in a church,” says Joseph. “Pastor actually is a heart. God didn’t call me to be a ‘pastor,’ but he put that pastor’s heart in me. Wherever you are, you’re a pastor. God called me to be a marketplace pastor. You can use the language of the marketplace, but share our beliefs and values in that language. That’s what missions are all about.”

2. Marketplace Leaders Carry Supernatural Influence.

 Joseph once spoke at a conference in Jakarta. After he spoke, a Filipino businessman shared. The businessman had committed to give fifty percent of his income; he’d developed buildings throughout Manila, each of which had large signs on top saying, “For God’s glory.” After 30 years of real estate development, he developed cancer. “I don’t know how many more years I can give,” he said, “but I’d like to issue a call to this audience. If you’re willing to answer my call, raise your hand so I can pray for you.”

“I don’t know how many more years I can give,” he said, “but I’d like to issue a call to this audience. If you’re willing to answer my call, raise your hand so I can pray for you.”

Everyone wondered what call the businessman would issue. Was it a call to receive Jesus, or to rededicate their lives, or go into missions? The businessman asked, “Is there anyone here in this audience that’s willing to give $1 million over the rest of your life? If you’re willing to make this promise to the Lord, raise your hand.”

Joseph was stunned. “I was 62 years old and three years from retirement,” he says. He began to run the numbers. “I wondered, ‘Is he talking about Indonesian dollars (USD$76), or Taiwan dollars (USD$33,000), or US dollars? But he’s speaking English, so it must be US dollars.” Throughout the room, quite a few young men began to raise their hands. “Stand up and come forward,” the businessman said. “Men are crying and walking up to the front,” Joseph says. “He began laying hands on these men and praying for them.” “Pastors cannot do that,” Joseph says. “They can’t issue a call like that. But this businessman was supernaturally carrying power and influence because he’s in the marketplace.”

3. Wealth Is an Uneasy Yoke.

 “Wealth has come to control the heart of the Chinese people,” says Joseph. “They have lost their spiritual freedom. When numbers control your heart, you’ve lost freedom.” He points to Matthew 11:30 in which Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).

Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV). 

“I didn’t understand that easy yoke and light burden until recently,” he says. “Those smart people – MBA, Goldman Sachs – they manipulate and calculate and organize and plan to maximize profit. For them, money becomes an uneasy yoke. There’s no real freedom in that life.”

Joseph observes that controlling money is the opposite of freedom. “For those willing to let go, like a child, money will not be controlling,” Joseph says. “Money loses its controlling power. Money becomes something that blesses people and creates real value. We need the generosity message so much. We need to release that spirit of freedom. In the spirit of generosity, you find the spirit of heaven. May that Generosity Path be opened up among all the Chinese people.”

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