A few years ago our church started a capital campaign in an effort to raise enough money to move our congregation to a larger facility. We had 144 full seats, and on our last Easter service there I think we had over 300 people. Our pastor had a vision to expand The Point, and he succeeded. We moved out of that 6,000 sqft facility, and into an 18,000 sqft one. The plan to get us there was to have church members pledge to give monthly an offering above and beyond their normal tithes and offering for 3 years. [More on that story here]
My wife and I were on a very tight budget at that time and still are. Michele kept a spreadsheet of our monthly expenses and income. It automatically calculated what would be left over each month. Based on that spreadsheet we could only give about $50 extra per month. I knew God wanted me to give more.
So, I searched through the spreadsheet for things we could live without. We had already cut the cable, stopped eating out almost entirely and were never spending much on entertainment. It didn’t seem like there was anything we could cut… except my truck payment.
Now, I’m from Alabama, and a guy from Alabama has to drive a truck. It is a law. You will get pulled over if you are seen driving a small car because that’s just too suspicious. It just ain’t right. (My southern heritage is coming out as I type). How can I get rid of my truck? If I get rid of my truck, then I may as well get rid of the travel trailer that we are paying $110 a month to park in storage.
I made the pledge on a card and turned it into the church. It was way above what we could afford unless I sold my truck and travel trailer. The only problem is that I made the pledge before I could sell them. I didn’t think it was going to be hard to sell them.
Weeks went by without a call, text, or email. Not even the spammy PayPal ones from Craigslist. I finally went to Carmax to see what they would give me, and it was 2,000 less than my asking price, so I held off on that. The date of the initial offering was coming soon, and we didn’t have the money we pledged. Not even close. What do I do?
Many people today don’t think that prayer works. You will hear about studies proving that it doesn’t work. However, those studies are flawed. Prayer is not something you can put in a test tube, or in a petri dish. It has to be genuine. When people asked Jesus to give them a sign so that they could believe, he rebuked them. Prayer is not a time to give God your demands, or your Christmas wishlist. Prayer is about having a conversation with God. If during that conversation you need to ask Him something, then it needs to be in alignment with His will. It is not His will that you have a shiny new Corvette so that you can impress your friends, get full of pride, and then stop relying on Him. Even when Jesus prayed, he prayed for God’s will.
It was God’s will for our church to have a bigger building. Many miracles happened that allowed this to come to pass that I don’t have time to share. One of them was me selling my truck and travel trailer through prayer. Praying for God’s will.
On a Sunday the week before I needed to lay my initial offering on the platform, I still did not have the money that I knew God wanted me to give. I still had no calls, texts, or emails on either vehicle I was selling. I got down on my knees that Sunday and asked God for help. That week flew by without a single call…
Until Saturday morning.
A young Marine called me and said he wanted to look at my truck. He drove over from Oceanside and didn’t know how to drive stick so he couldn’t test drive it. I offered to drive him around in it but was certain he wouldn’t buy a manual truck without knowing how to drive it. Who does that? (I did when I was 16) One trip around the block and he was sold. He just needed to run to the bank to secure the funds and find a friend to drive it home. I really didn’t want to sell the truck before the RV because I wouldn’t have a way to move it.
The minute he left for the bank, the phone rang. A guy said he had cash in hand for my travel trailer, and wanted to meet me right then. I flew over there in my truck, and on the way, a lady called also wanting my trailer. She said she would give me exactly what I was asking and not a penny less. I told her about the man I was meeting first. She said she would drive there and wait in the parking lot with cash in case he didn’t get it or tried to offer less.
The man looked over the trailer and saw that everything was in order. He then offered me $1000 less than my asking price. I just smiled and told him about the lady that was waiting patiently with cash in the parking lot. He thought I was bluffing until she called at that moment, and I put her on speaker phone. He then quickly pulled out the extra grand, and then asked if I would pull the trailer to his house a couple of blocks away.
After dropping off the trailer, I rushed home and met the Marine that wanted my truck. He gave me a certified check for the full asking price. The next morning, I took a wad of the cash from selling the trailer and laid it on the altar for the full amount that we pledged.
So what’s true?
God’s timing and God’s will are perfect. Prayer always works when it is aligned with those two things. This event in my life was more evidence that God is real to me. I have more for you coming soon.
To be continued…
Jacob W. Jones