The following is a translation of an excerpt from Ishizue: Kashihara Genjiro no shinko to shogai (Cornerstone: The Faith and Life of Genjiro Kashihara) by Teruo Nishiyama. Note: This translation is a provisional one and may need to undergo further revision.
Wrapping Up the Shortfall
The dedication service for the relocation of Muya Grand Church and its new sanctuary ended without incident. The next evening, Genjiro called together 400 people, a group that mostly comprised of head ministers, and announced that there was a 30,000 yen shortfall. When considering that a carpenter charged a yen for a single day’s worth of labor, the amount would easily equal to several hundred million yen today.
People became wide-eyed and some even sighed with dejection. Everyone considered the debt to be humanly insurmountable. Further, as Myodo had just been split off from Muya, little enthusiasm could be aroused from the subsidiary churches.
“Up until now, Myodo has never placed second to any other church. But since it has split off now, no matter what Myodo’s head minister may say, there’s no way we can deal with this shortfall.” Genjiro did not know such a sentiment existed.
The 40th Anniversary of Oyasama was magnificently conducted in January 1926. It was a period marked by relief in most people’s hearts, but Genjiro did not allow himself to rest. On February 6, he departed on a mission tour to Kyushu to deal with the shortfall.
On his way home, when he stopped by at Shuto, and urgent letter arrived from Myodo. Genjiro quickly opened it and learned that his eldest daughter Masu, who married into the Hayashi family, had contracted a severe pleural disease.
It was an unexplainable development. That night, Genjiro did not sleep and pondered the illness in light of the teachings. Genjiro normally would conclude that an illness of the pleura was caused by a person’s opposition to one’s parent or husband. No matter how much he reflected, he could not think that Masu was guilty of such a use of mind.
Genjiro then perceived Masu’s illness as not an individual matter, but as a matter concerning his church as a whole. The Hayashi family was the family of Myodo’s senior church officer. Myodo’s parent was Muya. The task of eliminating the shortfall had to start with Myodo. He concluded that it God the Parent’s present intention was for Myodo to push forward to eliminate the shortfall.
After attaining this insight, Genjiro’s concern for Masu’s illness that hung like dark clouds in his heart was cleared away.
Genjiro returned to Tokushima on the 17th. He immediately gathered his family and the Hayashis. When he shared the insight that he gained, Rev. Hayashi clapped his hands together and readily agreed. Their hearts were uplifted. The members of both families emptied their purses and wallets and immediately contributed 400 yen to Muya.
One was not to preach what to do but implement it oneself first. Genjiro and the members of both families were deeply aware of this.
This was how eliminating the shortfall began. By the end of the year, the shortfall was reduced by one-sixth. Part of it was made possible by an exemplary donation — the most anyone from Muya ever contributed since its founding — made by Rev. Arai, a church officer from Kagawa.
Head ministers from Myodo’s subsidiary churches who were opposed to participating in eliminating the construction shortfall came down with unexplainable fevers. There were examples of how they received God’s blessings in a single night after repenting for their opposition. God’s urgings became severe when people began to have thoughts of making their lives a bit more comfortable or maintaining their present lifestyle.
The time had come for the relatively weak churches that had been hastily founded during the double-the-membership drive to build up their strength in a genuine way. God also once said: “Show concern, show concern. If you show your concern, I will manifest its effect.” God’s marvelous blessings will not manifest where one does not show any concern.
Genjiro therefore continued to show his concern. The shortfall was eliminated just before the season toward the 50th Anniversary of Oyasama (1936) began. It was the happiest day in Genjiro’s life.
- Next installment in this series: Poor in Money, Rich in Children