Tuesday, August 5, 2008

God's provision and action

I'm a still a little bit stressed by this whole car repair thing. I really want my life and the life of my family to serve as an example of God at work in our lives, and I want people to see God's provision for life in what we do. The problem is, I don't have $1500 to fix the van. While I am currently well-compensated as a pastor, when I was bi-vocational, almost all of my pastoral income went to the expenses I incurred to be the pastor, so we don't have any savings. (I know, that's bad. But God has always provided when we've needed.) So, we'll pay for the van repair by going deeper into debt, which is something we are desperately trying to not do. This seems like just another ordinary day, nothing too miraculous happening.

That's what I have been thinking. But, now I've been corrected. First of all, we do have some savings. We have the remnant of the 401(k) money that UPS paid me, and tomorrow I can request that payout. It should be enough to cover the van repair. Second, we have a paid-off credit card that we can use for the expense, so we won't pay any interest. Third, at 167,000 miles, the van could have just imploded. We're very blessed that you can put some parts in the engine and supposedly it will go again (of course, the spark plugs had better be diamond-tipped solid gold or something!!!)

You know where I'm seeing the real work of the Lord in this? I'm seeing how much of a community we are as a church. Yesterday a church member stopped by the dealership and persuaded the used car department to loan me a vehicle for the day (2008 Chevy Malibu. I didn't drool on it too much. Especially after I found out they want 10% above book value for it.). Then, last night after returning my loaner, as I was finding out how much it would cost, and how long it will take, I turn around and Felicia and Michael Shepherd were there, taking the church bus to be looked at by the shop. So, instead of walking home, I rode with the two of them out to Donny and Felicia's, and they loaned Ann and I their Trailblazer for a couple of days. Meanwhile, our phone has rung consistently with people checking to make sure we don't need anything or offering us rides, whatever we needed. It's nice to feel that love.

Another good thing is that yesterday gave me an opportunity to, quite literally, put legs under something that is important. We live in a day where people look for reasons to tear down ministers. Too many of us have slipped and fallen, and done things we should not have done. So, to protect my ability to present God's Word, there are certain things I try not to do. One of them is to be alone with women I am not married to. On very rare occasions, this is impossible, but if I can avoid it, that's better. Especially to ride around town with just myself and another lady, there are too many ways that can be misinterpreted. This isn't about trust or distrust of any church members, but about how the unbelieving world assumes on what they see. So, yesterday, while I appreciated the offers of transportation I received, it was a situation where I could walk and prevent an appearance of possible impropriety. Did I want to do that? Goodness no. It's hot out there! Was it a minor price to pay? Certainly. I was reminded of a story about Billy Graham and his trip to London to preach. European TV allows nudity on broadcast channels and basic cable, something that we are still fighting to keep away here. Rev. Graham went into his hotel room and immediately tried to unhook the cable from the TV. Seeing it couldn't be unhooked, he reached and yanked the cable from the wall. One of his associates asked him if he had considered the cost of repair, to which the Evangelist replied that 'we can replace the cable and the wall, but we cannot replace what God intends to do.' I do not claim to be Billy Graham's equal. In fact, I'm not quite worthy to sweep his floors, but he has set an example of integrity in ministry that is worth trying to follow.

To anyone who thought I was being stubborn by not accepting help yesterday, you're right. I'm stubborn. But it's not about the help.

1 comment:

  1. .....I have walked in my integrity, And I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. (ps 26:1) Great!


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