I’ve never been a wealthy man, but there have been times when I was financially better off than usual. One such time is when I was serving as the pastor of Mckinney Cove Baptist church. At that time, I was making a better salary than I ever had.
During those days, God also opened the door for Tonya and I to sell our house. It was a nice house, but we had gotten to the point where we wanted something different. We hoped to scale down to a smaller house and have a smaller mortgage payment. After we sold, we rented another house on a monthly basis and excitedly looked around for our next home.
Our excitement soon waned, however, when we couldn’t find what we wanted. The houses that would have allowed us to scale down were all too overpriced, too in need of repair, too poor in location, or too something. The only house that we liked was one that was a step up for us. It was a beautiful house in a older, well-established neighborhood. We both loved it, but our mortgage payment would be even more than our previous one had been.
Finally, after tons of prayer and much seeking after God’s will, we knew that God wanted us to buy the beautiful house. We remained apprehensive about the mortgage, but God assured us that He would take care of us. I trusted Him because I was, after all, making a good salary to go along with Tonya’s teacher’s salary.
Well, things progressed along as expected for almost two years. It was then that God instructed me to resign Mckinney Cove church, step out in faith, and start a non-denominational church. The idea of starting a new church was very appealing, but it was also frightening. Not the least of my concerns was, how will we make our mortgage payments if I take such a major salary cut?
Finally, I submitted to God’s will and started the new church. I didn’t know where we would get the money to cover our bills, but I knew that God was able. I had preached about God’s provision so many times. Now it was time for me to put that preaching to the test in my own life.
It was at this time that God used nature to give me two object lessons. The first one was a squirrel. One day as I was watching the little thing search for nuts in my yard, God spoke to me and said, “If I can make sure that squirrel has nuts for the winter, I can make sure that your bills get paid.” The second came a few days later. I was sitting at my desk when a small bird landed in the bush just outside my study window. As I watched the bird, God said to me, “Just as I take care of that bird, I will take care of you.” Of course, even as God spoke to me about those two creatures, I knew that Jesus loved to use nature as a means of illustrating His teachings. I also knew those promises to me concerning those two creatures lined up perfectly with similar teachings Jesus had given about the birds of the air and the lillies of the field (Matthew 6:25-34).
We are now well into our third year of Disciples Road Church, and Tonya and I have never failed to make a payment or pay a bill. Even more than that, we’ve been able to afford “extras” such as vacations, nice Christmas gifts, baseball camps, etc. Was it because my salary at the new church ended up being more than expected? No, that salary is still much less than I made at Mckinney Cove. So, how have we done it? I would have to write an entire book to explain it. I have watched in amazement as God has time and time again met the need. You’ve noticed his immense imagination and creativity in the natural world, haven’t you? Well, believe me when I say that you can apply those things to the financial realm as well. He just never runs out of new and interesting ways to get the bills paid for those who will put their complete trust in Him and let Him work.
Before I go, though, I do need to share with you two important truths on this whole subject. Truth #1: Never try to make God cover the bill for something that isn’t His will. Tonya and I have made it because both the house and the church were His will. As I heard a preacher say just the other day, “When it’s God’s will, it’s God’s bill.” I guess the flip side of that is, “When it’s your will, it’s your bill.” Truth #2: God enjoys taking things right down to the last possible moment before He meets the need. Oh, yes, He has scared us to death more than once before coming through for us. Think about Moses and the Israelites standing on the shore of the Red Sea. It wasn’t until Pharaoh’s army was right on top of them that God parted the waters.
I’ll close by reminding you of the opening words of the famous 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” These words mean that when you play the role of sheep and let the Lord play the role of shepherd, you won’t want for anything. That includes wanting for money to cover the bills. Whenever I notice a squirrel or a bird now, I’m reminded of God’s provision. I would advise you to let Him give you some object lessons for your own life.