When I was growing up, our family really didn’t have a whole lot of anything. By most standards we were fairly poor. The truth is, we didn’t know it. My grandmother used to say we were the richest people in the world. I would ask, “How can you say that?” And her reply was always the same. “We love the Lord, He loves us and we love each other, what more do you need?” Pretty wise woman!
I had the privilege of growing up in a home where Jesus was made first and best. Our lives were centered in walking with Him, living with Him and growing in Him. Therefore, from the earliest age, we put Jesus first. When we sat down to have a meal, we thanked God for food. When we attended church, we returned our tithe and offerings. The amount wasn’t important. When we saw someone in need, we did all we could to help alleviate their challenge or difficulty. I remember one year was so bad that we frankly didn’t know where the next meal was coming from. But we still had prayer before a meal and we still helped people and we still returned our tithe and offering.
As I mentioned, it was financially tight. And faced at Christmas time with really nothing at all, I remember my dad saying he was going to trust God no matter what. I remember my parents returned their meager amount in the offering plate that Sabbath. We went home and had a simple meal. God was good. I had heard my parents pray for God to supply our needs, to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and enough money to keep the house warm and the lights on. That Saturday night, there was a knock on our door. It was friends of ours who had come to visit. After visiting for a while, they handed my dad a new book. Dad thanked them and they went on their way.
When dad looked at the book more carefully, he noticed a slit in the cellophane and realized there was something else. Opening the book, he discovered a crisp new $50 bill in the book. I remember my mother broke into tears and my dad sat there stunned. God had made another one of His remarkable “back door deliveries” to sustain His people. We had a special thank you prayer that evening. I learned a valuable lesson that night. If God is first in my life, then He will take care of me!
I’ve heard all kinds of sermons and seminars about stewardship. But in the simplest terms, it is like Jesus said long ago, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NASB). I invite you to always seek Him first and let Him take care of you.
By Richard C. Dye, Sr. President