Noah Hart was a busy man. Food drives; clothing for the homeless; Bibles to third world countries; fundraisers for running water in African villages; shelter for battered women. Noah was doing it all. Someone once asked how he kept so many charitable balls in the air at once.
“Organization,” he answered without hesitation. “You’ve got to stay focused and that takes organization. Lots and lots of planning. Without a plan, nothing gets done.”
The questioner, a fellow member of Noah’s church, walked away a bit surprised that God had not been a part of the answer. He supposed Noah just misunderstood his question.
Another church member suggested that Noah should open his own ministry for the various charities he handled, since he obviously had a gift for implementation, and make it his full-time occupation. Noah thought this was a wonderful idea and, with typical practicality, immediately put a plan into motion.
Noah Hart Ministries was a tremendous success. He was suddenly able to open the door to many other opportunities to serve. Along the way he was able to pay himself a generous salary and purchase a luxury automobile. Noah didn’t see any reason why people shouldn’t see that serving God did not always mean a life of low financial means. After all, God wanted His people to have an abundant life.
One day Noah was driving a fully loaded van over to the local food pantry, with his 8 year old daughter riding shotgun, when she suddenly squealed at him.
“Daddy! That man!”
“What man, sweetie?”
“That man back there on the corner. The one with the sign.”
“What did it say, Cheryl?”
“It just said ‘Hungry.’” Tears started to well up in the little girl’s eyes. “Daddy, didn’t you see him?”
“No honey, I’m sorry - I didn’t. We’re in a real hurry, sweetie. I’ve got two more trips to make after this. But this food we’ve collected is for people like him. He will get some of it later, when it gets handed out to the homeless.”
Cheryl didn’t say anything else. She sat in silence as tears continued to run down her face. She just wasn’t sure anymore who they were for.
One of Noah’s proudest days was when his new sign finally arrived for his office. It was installed on the inside of his window, facing the busy street.
“Noah Hart Ministries” the sign proclaimed in brightly lit, golden, neon letters. He beamed with pride that the whole world could now see that he was here and know about the work he was doing.
The next day, as Noah entered the office, he walked over and switched on the power to his new sign, but the “A” and the “H” in Noah did not light up. With a frown creasing his face, Noah turned the light off and back on again.
“NO HART MINISTRIES” stared back at him. Angry now, Noah got on the phone to the sign company and chewed them out, but good. Within an hour a repair man was at the office working on the sign. After a while the message was whole again.
“Sorry about that Mr. Hart. I’m not sure exactly what happened. There must be something wrong in your power source that created some sort of surge and caused those letters to blow out.”
Noah gave the man a stern look. “Is it fixed now?”
“Near as I can tell it is, yes.”
“I hope so. I’ve got some errands to run, and I’d hate for it to go out again while I’m away.” With that he dismissed the repair man and packed up to leave. As he shut the door behind him and turned to lock up, the lights on the sign flickered and then came back on…except for two letters.
“Arrgghh!” Noah raged. “Why can’t people get things right?!?”
Try as he might, Noah could never get that sign to stay lit properly. Finally, one day, the message got through to him and he knew what he had to do. The next day a man showed up at Noah’s office and the golden neon lights that boldly proclaimed “NO HART MINISTRIES” was replaced by neatly stenciled, golden, letters.
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