I Never Lost by Giv­ing!

Set­backs turn to op­por­tu­ni­ties

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - Masahiro Narita (1925–2012) was a mem­ber of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional in Ja­pan. By Masahiro Narita

In the early years of my busi­ness activities, I be­lieved that money was ev­ery­thing. When my wife com­plained that there wasn’t enough love in our mar­riage, I re­torted that love wouldn’t keep food on the ta­ble. Since I be­lieved that ma­te­rial things were ev­ery­thing, I didn’t be­lieve in God or His sup­ply.

That changed grad­u­ally af­ter I was in­tro­duced to the Bi­ble. I started learn­ing about God’s eco­nomic plan, which is based on love and shar­ing— quite dif­fer­ent from the “me-first” ma­te­ri­al­ism that had driven me up till then. This helped me read­just my pri­or­i­ties.

It was 1985, and Ja­pan’s econ­omy was boom­ing. My wife and I be­gan sup­port­ing var­i­ous vol­un­teer projects and had just pledged a reg­u­lar do­na­tion to mis­sion­ar­ies. We hadn’t given in the hope of be­ing blessed in re­turn, but I was cu­ri­ous to find out if Je­sus’ “give, and it will be given to you” prom­ise could be taken lit­er­ally.

1 At the time, I was plan­ning to build a con­do­minium, and just one week later, my bank rec­om­mended a build­ing con­trac­tor, whom I ended up hir­ing. Overly ea­ger to get started, how­ever, the con­trac­tor ap­plied for a build­ing per­mit be­fore I had ap­proved his de­sign—and as it turned out, I didn’t ap­prove it. When we couldn’t agree on the mat­ter, I con­tracted an­other builder, and the first con­trac­tor sued. Even­tu­ally, we agreed on a new de­sign and that the con­do­minium would be a joint con­struc­tion project be­tween the two con­trac­tors. The three-month de­lay did not ap­pear to be a bless­ing. How­ever…

At the on­set of the project, we had set aside funds to pay the city plan­ning fees—but while we were sort­ing out the con­trac­tor busi­ness, the city plan­ning reg­u­la­tions changed, and un­der the new rules, I was no longer re­quired to pay this tax on my project.

While I was glad to not be el­i­gi­ble for the city tax, I learned that the gov­ern­ment was sig­nif­i­cantly in­creas­ing its own tax­a­tion on con­struc­tion, ef­fec­tive in April. As it turned out, the first con­trac­tor’s mis­take in pre­ma­turely ap­ply­ing turned out to be for the best, as our project re­ceived build­ing ap­proval right be­fore the tax hike took ef­fect.

Through these events I learned to rec­og­nize God’s pres­ence in my life. Look­ing back on how God had blessed us in both sit­u­a­tions, I con­cluded that it must have been be­cause my wife and I were help­ing His work in what­ever way we could.

1. Luke 6:38

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