He was an exceptionally successful business man though you wouldnt know it by his lifestyle. He kept that simple. I believe one of the reasons he wanted to live simply was because it allowed him to do more for others and to be generous to the Lords work.
Those who attend my church who read this will probably figure out about whom I am writing and thats OK though he would surely give me a scolding for doing this. I would classify this man as an investor. Let me give you some examples:
- Each year at the beginning of school, if we had some kids who couldnt attend because of financial problems, hed write a check to make sure they got a Christian education.
- The last time he attended church, weakened with cancer and surgery, he tucked a check for $1,000 in my hand to help purchase materials for our Living Beyond Reality home study campaign for evangelism. You could hardly read his writing, but even then, he had a heart for helping out.
- If he heard of someone who needed tires on their car or were having a problem financially, hed take care of it, but only under the condition that we didnt tell who had helped them.
- He faithfully tithed plus more and always participated in a significant way in any special offering or project.
- This is kind of personal, but at Christmas and Thanksgiving, he would often bring my family a honey-baked ham or turkey breast (our favorite) or a gift certificate to a restaurant that we wouldnt normally have gone to because of price with a handwritten note. Little things like that go along way to keep a pastor and his family encouraged.
He did these things and I never asked him to do a thing. He just heard about the need and then wanted to take care of it. He was an investor.
His generation is dying off far too rapidly. He was a WW2 vet and Im told that they are dying off at the rate of 1,000 a week. He was a hard-shelled businessman who gave you quality work for an agreed upon price and his word was as good as his bond. He did it right and particularly so if it was the Lords work. In fact, after he finished doing a project for the ministry, he would almost always take the profit from the project after it was completed and turn around and put it right back in the offering. He wasnt going to make money off of working for Gods people.
Todays generation is more about whats in it for me? Special offerings? Id just be thankful if theyd follow the Biblical practice of tithing. We look to the government to bail us out of trouble without thinking of how we might be used by God to meet some personal need for someone. We are far faster to heap criticism on leadership than encouragement. We spend and borrow to attain a lifestyle that holds us hostage and we dont have the breathing space financially to look for ways to invest in others.
I know this, our ministry today was built by Godly and devoted men who saw themselves as tools and conduits for Gods resources which flowed through them. I wonder if my generation and the one after me will live their lives and groom their hearts in such a way that we also will be investors in what God wants to do in us and through us.