Biloxi, MS, c.1974. My wife and I were brand new Christians, just beginning to learn of the faithfulness of God.
Early in his own ministerial career, Jerry Savelle had come to speak in Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi. At a morning service, he previewed the approaching evening event, announcing that he would be preaching from Matthew 10, on the hundredfold blessing.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
“But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
Bro. Savelle then caught our attention by stating that anyone with a financial need should be sure to bring an offering. “Even if you only have a quarter,” he said, “bring that.”
We smiled knowingly at each other. We were so broke, we actually didn’t know if we had a quarter!
I was in the military at the time. Through an administrative glitch, Uncle Sam had neglected to send my paycheck. (The government still paid by check back then.) It had been several weeks since we had had any income at all, so we knew the coffers were empty.
But we still had an abundance of faith, and God had given us direction by the mouth of his servant. So we set about searching the house for anything we could bring for an offering. We managed to find just two dimes in the kitchen. Then we tore the couch apart, and gathered joyfully five more pennies. That was all the money in the whole house!
We had to ride to service with our pastor, Kirby C. Hunter, since we had no gas money for our own car. It was really that tight!
We said nothing to anyone about our “G.I.’s mite” contribution [Luke 21:1-4]. But we had our eyes firmly fixed on the loving kindness of our God.
At the appropriate time, I was assigned to take up the offering. (We used a five gallon ice cream bucket–it was an outdoor meeting.) As I completed the task by throwing in my own meager offering, a man approached me with an envelope in his hand. He said, “The Lord told me to give this to you.”
I took the envelope and threw it in the bucket with the rest. But He immediately became agitated, saying, “No, no! That’s for you personally.” I was puzzled, but I retrieved the envelope and found that it contained forty-six dollars in cash, and a check for fifty dollars. I’m no mathematician, but I knew that was more than a hundredfold return on twenty-five cents! [In 1974, ninety-six dollars was a great deal of money for our young family. It would easily buy groceries for a month.]
Jesus had showed Himself faithful, not only to know our plight, and to perceive our faith in taking Him at His Word. He was also able to speak explicitly to someone who had no knowledge of our situation, and to direct the release of funds in the hour of need. The check demonstrated that God had the power and foreknowledge to specifically send help to us, BY NAME, before we obeyed His command to give our last quarter! We also understood that the Lord was committed to taking care of His own, even when we couldn’t count on the U.S. Government.
Over forty years later, we can still say, He has never let us down.
Eph.3:20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.“