When the rains came on a Sunday morning, the offering buckets did double duty. They were used as rain buckets to catch the rain. Our local church building in the small town where we lived needed a new roof. Actually, because the building was almost seventy years old, we needed a new building. After initially studying the situation, the members learned that while their intentions and willingness were good, the finances to build a new building did not appear to be there. What we learned, and what I still remember from that opportunity caused me to see God as the Provider in a new and very strong way.
In “Daily Bread, Part One”, I gave the biblical basis for the statement that God is the Provider. Simply put in an agricultural sense, He provides the seed, brings the rain, and causes the increase or crop. Our part is to identify and plant in good soil, and gather in the harvest. We have work to do, but He is the Provider. He does not always provide in ways we ask or expect, but He does provide. If we ask, He does not necessarily provide what we think we want, but He will supply what He knows we need. We needed a new church building, and we asked Him to provide.
Our initial findings indicated two things. First, we did not have enough members or money to pay cash for a new building of the same size, let alone a larger building which would allow us to grow. Second, we did not have the monies to qualify to borrow the funds to build the same size building. We continued to ask Him to provide.
The first miracle provision came when a family with deep roots in the community and in our church agreed to donate a piece of land in a very suitable location. The land was large enough to build and expand upon, and had excellent road access and traffic visibility. A church in this location would be a brick billboard for people driving by, and give us the opportunity to add members and grow.
The second miracle provision came when the church decided to ask its members to collectively loan to the church the money to build the building. Since we could not obtain a bank or commercial loan, and our members did not have the money to give or donate for the building, would they be willing to loan the money to build?
The church set up a legally binding structure to obligate itself to gradually repay with interest over a one to fifteen year period any monies borrowed from its members (or anyone else). The church would set aside a specified amount each week sufficient to repay the obligation. The mother church to our church agreed to back up the obligation. The church then went about borrowing the funds to build from its members and the community at large. Construction could not begin until all the funds necessary to finish the building were received. God would have to provide another miracle, but we all had a part to play.
My family emptied out our savings and, in addition, borrowed a little at the bank on our own credit so we could lend the money to the church. We were new believers with small children. We did not have a lot of spare money lying around. We simply saw the need and wanted to help, so we loaned everything we could scrape together to get the program going. We believed what we have comes from Him, so if He had need of it, we could certainly let Him use it. Many other members and families in the church and the community did the same thing. One Sunday morning we were told in church that only a small amount remained to be gathered in, and we could begin construction. In a powerful move of the Holy Spirit, the members in church that morning agreed to go the second mile and committed to fund the balance needed. There was not a dry eye in the house.
The rest, as they say, is history. The larger building was built, the church grew and prospered, and there were no problems in meeting the financial obligation to repay the members. God had provided a unique way to solve a problem that seemed to have no solution. His provision, however, did not end there.
I eventually took a job in another state, and my family moved away. Over the years, we received the agreed repayments of the amount we loaned, with interest, until all had been repaid. The amount we loaned is not important, so let’s say it was “x”. It was also an odd amount, not a nice round number like $1000.
I did well in my new job, and one year earned a significant bonus. It was a real blessing to our family, as the kids were then about to graduate from high school and enter college. The bonus was an odd amount, and I asked the Lord why that amount at this time. He said to refer to the original paperwork on the church loan. When I did, my mouth dropped wide open. Fifteen years to the month after starting that 15 year church loan program, I was looking at a bonus in an amount equal to “10x+7”, or ten times the amount we originally loaned (and were repaid, with interest), plus seven dollars. God had not forgotten. If the church had experienced a miracle, my family experienced a super miracle. There was no doubt on the timing or the math on the amount, because He told me to look it up in the old paperwork. Further, while we waited for the repayment over those fifteen years, and had no savings, we had no family expense He did not cover.
As I continue to testify and praise God for this miracle of provision, in reflection I can say there are at least four points to take away from this experience:
- God is the Provider. Again, many of the scriptures supporting this statement are contained in Part One, but Genesis 22:14 is where His name “Provider” is used for the first time. His name is indicative of His nature and character. He created it all, and owns it all. (1 Chronicles 29:14). He provides it all.
- We are not to consume all that He provides. We are to be good stewards of what He provides for us. Some should be given to the local church in the form of a tithe (which I will discuss in a later article), and some set aside as savings. Proverbs 13:11 says “he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” When a need arises, there will be money to address it. In Genesis 41: 33-40, Joseph set aside from the years of plenty enough to survive in the lean years ahead. Proverbs 21:20 says “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Think of what is stored or set aside as the seed for opportunity.
- When the opportunity comes, invest in what God is doing. 2 Corinthians 9:11 says “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” We are blessed so we can be a blessing. King David, the second king of Israel, was troubled that he lived in a fine house, but the ark of God resided in a tent. He saw the need, and out of love, he wanted to build a temple for the Lord. (2 Samuel 7). He gave tremendous amounts from his personal wealth to do this (1 Chronicles 29), and the Lord blessed him and his household by allowing Solomon, his son, to become the wealthiest man to have lived. He eventually placed another of his descendants, Jesus, on the throne to rule forever. The blessing far exceeded what he gave.
- God provides the harvest. In Matthew 9:28 He is “the Lord of the harvest.” In Matthew 13:8 seed planted in good soil “produced a crop-a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” My family’s seed was invested in something He was doing. The seed was returned with interest, and a bumper crop of ten times what was planted, plus seven dollars more. The number seven in scripture is a number meaning full, finished, or complete. I took this to mean that after the church had repaid the loan with interest, God wanted to say this was a job well done, an investment well made. He was pleased, and wanted to put a final and definitive word on the repayment.
In conclusion, our miracle working God is not only our Provider, but “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20). Ask Him for your daily bread. Invest in what He is doing in the earth. Then hang on for the ride of your life.