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People are naturally curious about our finances: How can we preach voluntary poverty at the same time that we fly all over the world. The simple answer is that we are both poor and rich.

We are rich by comparison to real poverty. The Australian government graciously offers more than $100 per week to people who are unemployed, sick, old, or for some other reason not receiving that much income. By world standards that's an incredible amount of money. Earning $100 a month in India puts you in the upper middle class; yet Australia's poorest get four times that amount!

We do not work for money, and we do not accept the dole. We actually receive less than what dole recipients get from the government for doing nothing, and yet we still consider ourselves to be rich by world standards.

Of course, in the eyes of the average Australian, we are quite poor. Because we do not claim the benefits available to us from the Australian government, we receive considerably less than Australia's poorest people (dole recipients).

From the donations that we receive, we each spend about $35/week on food, clothing, rent, and other normal daily expenses. The rest of what we receive almost all goes toward transportation and printing costs which are directly related to our outreach programs. If we received even a minimum wage for all the free work that we do, we could easily quadruple our finances overnight. But we don't need it.

The fact that we are happy to be poor is what really infuriates our enemies. For by doing so, we expose the universality of greed. Everyone, from missionaries to oil magnates, shamelessly seeks more money, while we shamelessly seek to live on less.

Critics become obsessed with locating our sources of income and then attacking them, in an attempt to prove that it is impossible for anyone to survive without love for money.

The usual approach is, "Okay, we accept that you live by faith; but where does your money come from? Who pays for your plane tickets? Where did you get the clothes that you are wearing?"

The truth is that God takes care of us and we don't much care how he does it. But occasionally we let ourselves be drawn into answering further, and the usual answer is that in one way or another, someone gives us what we need... from the goodness of their hearts.

"Aha!" say our critics, "And where would you be if that person hadn't worked for money?"

"Back where we were in the first place... trusting our heavenly Father," we reply.

The difference is that we trust God and use money; they trust money and use God.

What a shame, when you think they could be working with a real God instead of the insipid God of their religious jargon.

(See also Living by Faith -- How to Do It.)

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