In the early years, my wife, Evelyn—”Mom”—and I traveled in ministry with our son, Tim. When he was a year and a half old, we were in Muskogee, Oklahoma, doing meetings in a small country church. The congregation didn’t have a pastor, and every night after I would minister they would place a basket on the altar and say, “We know you’re all poor and you don’t have anything, but if you could find something to give to the minister, that would be a blessing.”
After about two weeks of ministering there, paying for our own food, gas and other needs, we were averaging about 50 cents per night in the offering. Even in 1958, 50 cents was not very much money. Someone gave us a five-pound block of commodity cheese and Evelyn purchased some macaroni, and the two of us lived off macaroni and cheese. She had also stocked up on some baby food for Tim. It was not an ideal situation, and Evelyn had just had a miscarriage and was having a hard time.
We drove down to Oklahoma City to see if by some chance anyone had sent us some money, but there wasn’t any there. We never would have called our parents for money—not to mention in those days you couldn’t get it as easily as you can now. It was the last night of the meetings, and Evelyn wanted to leave very badly. We pulled together all the money we had, and it came out to eight pennies. That was it, our life savings. There was nowhere to look and find money.
Evelyn and I laid our hands on those eight pennies and prayed, “God if you can turn water into wine, you can turn these pennies into dollars.” Eight dollars would have gotten us out of town.
The little church had one gentleman who played a guitar, and if a string broke he would pull out his pliers and fix it and go on. There was also a lady who played a tambourine, and Evelyn tried to chord on the piano. The last night everything went as it had for the previous two weeks. The service was good, but at the end they once again laid the basket on the altar and said, “We know you’re all poor and you don’t have anything, but if you could find something to give to the minister, that would be a blessing.”
We thought maybe because it was the last night they would encourage people to do a little more, but they didn’t. They had no idea what it took to travel in ministry. When it was all over, we were asked to stand in the back so that the people could shake our hands and say good-bye to us.
A couple of ladies gave Evelyn some money, and some of the men gave me some money. Between us we had about $25, and we were very excited about it. But Evelyn had asked God to turn our pennies into dollars. When she went to the front and counted the money in the basket, it came out to exactly $8. That $8 was the answer to our prayers. We could have made it without the handshakes. The $25 was an extra blessing.
This experience did something in Evelyn’s heart that has stayed with her for 50 years of ministry. Despite similar circumstances that we faced, and continued to face, this one moment marked in her heart that God will come through no matter what the situation is. He can multiply pennies into dollars! God sees us no matter where we are, no matter how we feel, whether people know what’s going on in our lives, and He loves us just the same—and He will come through.
God can, will and wants to multiply your pennies into dollars as well! Maybe you need your dollars to be multiplied into hundreds or your hundreds into thousands. Whatever you need, God knows. He has not forgotten, and He will supply!
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