I’m writing this letter in Seoul as I’m thinking of you. Autumn is drawing on in Korea. The colors of fall leaves are beautiful. One more night in Korea, and I will return to you. I have come to realize the time I resided in Los Angeles has been longer than the time I had resided in Korea. Los Angeles has become my second hometown. Korea has truly advanced a lot. It has become a convenient place to live. Everything moves so fast. It gives you a sense that you can do anything as long as you have money. For that reason, there are many temptations. Korea even has a business that says, “We do as you please.” They’ll do whatever you ask them to do. They’ll even stand in line for you. They’ll even do your laundry. They will get you whatever you need whenever you need them when you contact them.
However, there is a sad reality that coexists in Korea. Living has become convenient but the people don’t seem happy. People have greater frustration in their lives. They are living in a sense of relative poverty. They have greater complaints and resentment. They are oppressed by something. Of course not everyone in Korea is like that. There are people who are satisfied and happy. However, I sense a dark spirit hovering around the nation. We must pray more diligently for Korea.
I am learning and realizing many things in this trip to Korea. People live in the midst of time and space. When there is a lot of movement in a given space, even the same time frame feels longer. During this trip, I had to move around a lot. I delivered God’s messages as I moved around to and from Seoul, Daejun, Pusan, Pohang, and Yongin. For that reason, the past two weeks felt a lot longer. During my trip to Korea, I had several powerful encounters with beautiful words. I believe in the power of language. I know how words heal and inspire people. For that reason, whenever I encounter good words, I cling onto them and meditate on them deeply. In Korea, the first church I came to speak at was Mokdong Global Mission Church. In Mokdong Global Mission Church, there are many good phrases posted on the elevators and stairs. During my last trip to the church, there was a phrase on the elevator that read, “Don’t ask for water; ask for a fountain.” It was a reminder to go back to the basics. It was a teaching to return to God who is the source of all fountains. Another time, a phrase that was on the stairway spoke to my heart. “Wisdom may be borrowed but faithfulness cannot be borrowed.” It was a phrase that taught the importance of faithfulness. This short phrase kept resounding in my heart throughout my trip in Korea.
I have understood the importance of faithfulness early on in my life. Faithfulness is a constant heart. It’s a steady and patient heart. Faithfulness is a character that repeats the same work quietly without complaining. Faithfulness is one of the characteristics of God. Faithfulness is a heart of ‘all the time.’ During my childhood, I was raised in a poor family. I had nothing, so I chose faithfulness. I wanted to gain people’s trust through faithfulness. As I observed people in my childhood, I recognized that the way to gain people’s trust is through faithfulness and truthfulness. I chose faithfulness at an early age but I didn’t realize how important it was to have such a character. As the years have passed, I realize even more now how important and powerful faithfulness is.
Faithfulness is repeating what’s important. It is to repeat it daily. It is to repeat it patiently. It is to give your best at a given place regardless of its result and even if no one recognizes you. It is to give your best at a given place even when there is no reward for it. Professor KyungChul Jang from Seoul Women’s University said, “Faithfulness is increasing the number of times of work even when no result has come out.” Increasing the number of times of a work seems powerless in the beginning, but it eventually becomes a tremendous power. We move forward as we repeat and increase the number of times of our work.
Development is an advancement that is experienced when we do a little better today than yesterday. The action of repeating something in and of itself is not important. What’s important is repeating creatively. It is when we repeat creatively and increase the number of times of our work that we reach at a critical moment in one moment. Then we will experience an amazing leap. Those who are excellent in one area are faithful people. Excellence is reached when you choose an area of expertise and spend 10,000 hours or 10 years of focused and repeated labors. We must not be hasty in order to live a faithful life. A faithful life may seem weak in the beginning but can be great in the future. God never told us to be successful. Rather, He wants us to be faithful. He wants us to be faithful with small matters. Wisdom may be borrowed but faithfulness cannot be borrowed. Let us together permeate our lives with faithfulness. Let us color our souls with the color of faithfulness. I’m grateful for all your prayers throughout my ministry in Korea. I bless you.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.