Larry Davies and I are friends though we have never met nor spoken by phone. We have read each other’s devotionals for years and he wrote the introduction for my first book. Larry recently emailed asking me to write something to promote his coming devotional books. I agreed and today am sharing one of his stories.
One Sunday afternoon, a nasty storm pelted Larry’s community with hail. He learned a tornado had touched down just two miles away. The next morning, he discovered the tornado had destroyed the Lawyers Missionary Baptist Church. As a local pastor, Larry wondered how his church might help. He recalls thinking, “Our church was building a new worship area…” They were meeting in the church’s gym since their sanctuary was too small to seat the entire congregation. The Baptist church desperately needed a sanctuary. However, there were reasons helping could be a challenge:
• arry’s church’s parking lot was already full.
• he churches were different. Larry’s was Methodist, the other Baptist. One congregation was mostly black, the other mostly white.
Still an inner voice kept saying, “Wouldn’t you want someone to help you?” When Larry met Rev. Carlton Johnson he said, “We have a church sanctuary, and we would be delighted to have you join us.” Members of the two churches worshiped separately but in the same building the following Sunday. They planned a potluck dinner, and the Methodist congregation began to ask how they might help raise money for a new building. The churches even discussed combining two small youth Bible studies.
The congregations shared a building for years. Though not always easy, the two worked well together. There was, however, little progress in rebuilding Lawyers Missionary Baptist Church.
Sometime later, Larry’s church did a stewardship challenge asking each member to imagine what God could do with $10. Jim Adams, a local contractor, said, “For my $10 challenge, I’m going to rebuild Lawyers Missionary Baptist Church.’’
It seemed impossible, but soon one company donated a stained-glass window and another gave and installed an HVAC system. A church donated a baptismal pool, a second donated pews and gave money for a new steeple. Most building supplies for the new church were donated and hundreds volunteered to either work on the building or provide food.
Scripture encourages generosity when it says, “…don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” (Hebrews 13:16, NLT)
It pleases God when we help others. He often uses us in ways we cannot imagine. At Lawyers Missionary Baptist Church’s first service in their new building, Jim Adams explained the new building had been completed debt-free. He presented the congregation with the original $10 bill which he had not spent. That bill now hangs on a church wall reminding members of how God accomplishes the impossible when his people generously share what little they have with others.