I remember that when I first left my secular job in order to enter ministry fulltime, I put a certain amount of money into the bank from my retirement plan. I figured that if the whole ministry thing did not work out, at least I had a slush fund to fall back on. One day, a friend who was also in ministry came into my office and said, “Pastor, I don’t know what I’m going to do. The engine in my car just blew up, and I don’t have any money. I don’t even know how I’m going to get to church.”
I knew that his need was legitimate, and I also knew that I had enough money in the bank to buy him a car. Yet, suddenly I got very, very spiritual and said, “Well, let’s pray. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so He is well able to provide. David said, ‘I have been young and now I’m old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread’” (see Psalm 37:25).
As he sat there across the desk, I bowed my head and we began to pray—yet, it was as if my mouth was full of peanut butter. I could hardly pray, for all the while this little voice behind me was saying, “You hypocrite! If a man sees his brother in need and he shuts his bowels of compassion, how can he say the love of God dwells in him?” (see 1 John 3:17). I kept trying to push it out of my mind as I was praying until finally I ran out of gas and said, “I have money in the bank if you need it.”
I ended up buying him a new car. Shortly after that the engine in my car blew up and at that point I said, “Well, Lord, I have obeyed You. That’s all I can say.”
Sometime later, we were renovating a church that we had purchased in the country. I was up on a scaffold, helping to paint the ceiling, when suddenly somebody came in and said, “You have an emergency call!” When I got on the phone, the man on the line introduced himself as a salesman at a local car dealership. Then he said, “A gentleman came in this morning and bought you a brand-new car. All you have to do is come in and sign for it!” I asked him the identity of the gentleman, but he told me that he had chosen to remain anonymous.
Now please understand that that I am not telling you that if you buy a car for a friend, you are going to get a new one in return. My point is simply that as we do things God’s way, refusing to hold back when we see a genuine need before us, God will be our supply and meet our needs.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon