The Midst of the storm:
Things had not gone the way we wanted. Debts were mounting up around us. I had a good job that adequately provided our needs as a family of seven, but circumstances seemed to be against us. We could not understand why things were going wrong.
Trained as an accountant we followed a budget but new holes appeared that had not been budgeted for and soon our budget had more holes than a tennis net. Night after night we sat up pondering how we could plug the holes and get on even keel again, As a boy I had been taught that I was responsible to provide for my family in good times and bad so there could not be a single thought of abandonment.
I felt worse because I had become a Christian and was beginning to feel I was letting God down. God had given me a very good job and I was being rapidly promoted in the company I worked for, my prospects were excellent. Anyway, it was not the prospects that would solve the problem, I was sinking now.
I heard that the company I now worked for would consider interest free loans to help employees over a hard patch and after much prayer and heart searching I decided I would approach the company for a loan to amalgamate my debts and pay them off. I needed to consult the Company Secretary. He seemed very understanding and said, “If you will provide me with your budget and complete the standard application form, you should have your loan in a week,”
My heart became lighter and I could see my way clear now. I spent the night preparing the budget properly so as not to omit anything. In the morning cheerfully presented my self in the secretary’s office, application completed. He gave the papers a cursory glance, it seemed it would be very simple until; “What’s this;” he exclaimed, pointing to the item at the very top of my expense list. “You don’t expect help when you do such a thing; we’re not a charity you know.”
His outburst was a response to ten percent of my income labeled “My Church” that topped the list of expenses. How would a non-Christian understand the word “Tithe”? Well he didn’t and what’s more he seemed horrified.
“Do you really expect the company to assist you in these circumstances when you give so much to your Church?”
“Yes sir, the Bible teaches that the first ten percent of my income belongs to God and so I must honour God with the ‘firstfruits’ of my income.”
Red in the face he bellowed, “Leave my office; you will receive your discharge in the next few hours.”
I went to my desk and waited in trepidation, what had I done now? Not only would I not get the loan but I would be completely sunk. The hours that passed were torture and I have never prayed so hard as I did then having been a Christian only a few years. I phoned my wife to warn her of the impending doom. How grateful I was to know that she would back me in my folly.
The phone rang alongside my desk, it was the Managing Director, a gruff voice announced, “I want to see you in my office now.” Trembling I went to his domain, an enormous office lavishly furnished in keeping with his position and I stood meekly at his desk,
His manner was kindly and gentle as he spoke, “Bill I understand that you have had an altercation with the Secretary. I want you to know that although I am not your kind of Christian. I think you would call me ‘nominal’. I do understand your convictions. You see I have a cousin who is as fanatical as you, he also - Tithes and would rather die than not fulfill God’s will.
I muttered, “Thank God for cousins,” under my breath.
“I have reconsidered your loan and here’s your cheque just sign this receipt, Oh I have also lowered the repayment rate a little to assist you. All the senior staff want you to know that they value your service and still believe that you are worth more than our budget allows us to pay.”
As I left his office I thanked God, especially for the Director’s cousin. It sounded to me like Daniel with the heathen king’s. God gave me honour,
(749 Words, Reading Grade 6.8)
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