Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Most of the saints here at Pastor John's house know of the financial situation that I had put myself into about four years ago. To put it mildly, I had a mountain of debt. Pastor John told me there was only one way out: work. Even if it meant getting two jobs. This kind of debt was draining to my whole family. So I immediately got a good full time job and a part time job at Lowe's Home Improvement Center. I was scheduled to work at Lowe's on a Sunday morning, the same morning that I would normally be in a prayer meeting at Pastor John's house. Pastor John told me if I was scheduled to work during our meetings that he would rather see me work. This would be right in the sight of the Lord.
It was about 30 minutes before the store opened for business that morning. My job was to get the department ready for opening, and during this time of preparation, I was talking to the Lord, asking Him how I was ever going to get out debt. At this time it looked as if I would be working two jobs for the rest of my life. During this time of my asking, I heard a still small voice on the inside say, "My economy is not of this world." At the time, it got my attention, but I didn't understand what it meant.
About this time, the store was opening its doors for customers. As I looked up, I saw a very tall man, about 65 years old, approaching me with a rechargeable battery in his hand. As he approached me, he asked if I had a replacement battery. I took the battery to see what brand and size he would need. While inspecting the battery, I noticed a small piece of aged paper taped to the battery with a date written in ink on it. I asked him why this piece of paper was taped to the battery. He smiled and said, "There's a story that goes along with that. Would you like to hear it?" I said, "Yes!"
He began by telling me that he had been a drunkard for most of his life. He said that about twenty years ago, he slept out on park benches at night because he didn't have a house or apartment. He told me that he drank every bit of his money away on liquor. He also added with emphasis that his attitude was hateful to everybody and that he would try to cheat as many people as he could.
During one of the nights he was sleeping in the park, he began to dream. In the dream, he told me, a huge heavenly being walked up to him while he was asleep. It began calling out his name. This woke him up immediately. Staring at him, the heavenly being asked him what had he achieved in life. Before he could say anything, this being started telling him that his life was a wreck. He told him that his attitude toward people was harsh and hateful. Most of the time he would go out of his way to mistreat people. He had no money because he had squandered what he received. He didn't have a place to live because he couldn't hold down a job. The man began to feel a deep fear coming all over him. The heavenly being told him if he wanted to make something of himself in life, he would have to go to work now. He would also have to change his attitude. Before having this dream, he would go out of his way to treat people badly. From this point on, he would need to go out of his way to treat people right. He needed to treat people the way he would want to be treated. He told him to work with a purpose. This meant having an attitude of a servant. He told him to keep good records. He told him knowing that where your money goes is a big deal. The heavenly being told him if he would do these things, he would have something at the end of his life.
At this point in our conversation, the man told me that for the past twenty years he had changed his lifestyle. He told me that his attitude toward people had changed. He told me that if he saw someone that he normally would have mistreated, he would go out of his way to treat him kindly. He told me he was a changed man. He said that he had worked hard at his job and kept good records (the battery was a testimony of his diligent work). He said he saved his money and invested well over the years. He said, "I don't have to tell you this, but I will. I am not hurting financially. God has taken care of me." He went on to say that he was now retired. He owned his own home and had enough money in the bank so that if he wanted to travel anywhere in the world, he could. He had enough to live comfortably for the rest of his life. He said, "Now I look for somebody to help. My days are few. I don't have time to waste." He said God had changed his life and given him a reason to live.
As this man started to leave my department, I thanked him for sharing these things with me. I thought to myself that this man didn't even know when he came in this morning that God was going to use him to answer a simple prayer of mine. This man came looking for a rechargeable battery but left me with a recharging of life. Thank You, God, for hearing my thoughts! I walked down the aisle of my department, pondering what just took place. I began to hear that inside voice again saying, "My economy is not of this world." By this time, I began to see a little bit of what He was saying to me.
Later on in the day, as I thought about what happened to me, it began to sink in deeply, to the point where I said in my heart, "Yes! God, you're right. My attitude has got to change. I'm wrong, and they're right. Whatever the saints say, I need to do; I'll do double-time. The standard is holy, and I've got to raise my standards to meet You in peace." At that moment, I felt something break over me, and I knew God had done something in me.
About a month had passed since my experience in Lowe's. Bess and I were driving two older used cars at this time. One of the cars started having trouble. This particular morning, I was supposed to go out of town for a job-related seminar. The whole way there, I talked with God about our situation. I told him that we were doing everything that I knew we were supposed to do and that we needed His help. That's when I heard that voice on the inside again, saying, "My economy is not of this world." I knew God was trying to give me greater understanding of this phrase. So I asked myself, "What is the world's economy like?" Well, if you were to put your money in an investment, the rate of your return would come by way of that investment only. If you put your money in a mutual fund, the rate of return on that fund would be the interest on that mutual fund only. That morning the Lord wanted to show me something about His economy. He began to show me that our attitudes, our deeds, our words, our motives are the treasures (our investments). Our attitudes are a deposit into His bank. Our deeds are a deposit in His economy. Our good words are an investment. Our motives are an investment. What we sow into His economy, we reap as a return. And His return is not limited as is the return on an investment in this world's economy. It can come back from many different directions. Attitude is a very good investment. Look at the spiritually rich men found in the Bible and their investments and returns.
As this began to sink into my heart while driving to the seminar, I said, "Take no thought for tomorrow. I don't have anything to be concerned about." I knew that I had been investing well ever since He starting showing me His economy. It sprang up into my heart that we were going to get a car.
That afternoon as I was getting out of the seminar, my phone rang and it was Bess. She said, "You will never believe it. My Dad just called and told me that he bought a new car today and wanted to know if we wanted his old car." I was so thankful for what God had done. I just prayed that morning and by the afternoon He had already made the arrangement for the delivery.
That afternoon on the way home I heard the voice again, saying… "My economy is not of this world." I immediately said, "Amen"!
It does not matter where you are, as long as your heart is sincere and you are doing the will of God. As long as you're doing what you're supposed to do, your return is on its way, and nothing can stop it. That's investing in His economy. Our part is to do the investing. God requires us to have a good attitude, to do good deeds, speak kind words, to have the right motives. If we do our part, the rate of return will be great. When the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard against him. And we will see the salvation of the Lord. Praise God!