My parents were baptized without receiving Bible studies. My father read The Great Controversy, and was astounded by the salvific Gospel of mercy and forgiveness, and both of them immediately decided to become members of the Church that had such a truthful message. Since I was only one year old, I had the opportunity to witness their growth process and their amazement when discovering new gems in the Bible. They always shared them with my brothers and me, even though we were young. My father decided to become a pastor, and went to the seminary when I was six.
One of the things I recall more vividly is the sense of sacredness they had, and still do at 82 and 91. We would never place something on the Bible. We were not to criticize pastors or anyone in a sacred position. They used the story of David as he refused to kill Saul when he had the opportunity, because he had been anointed, chosen for a sacred mission. When they bought us new clothes, the first time we wore them was always Sabbath. My parents had a special box (I believe they still have the same one) in which they would put the money separated for offerings, or to help people in need. We would never touch that box; that money was sacred. That sense was so profound, that I remember my brother, Henry, as a teenager, when going to a soccer game or any other type of entertainment, would only use the money he received from our grandmother and uncles, never the allowance he got from my parents. He figured that money was sacred, because it came from the tithes. I could go on and on giving so many examples of little things like those.
Then, life happened. I grew up, became busy, stressed, and little by little lost that sense of spiritual wonder. I still believed the same things, went to the same church, obeyed the same rules; but, those things became part of a routine that I would never abandon, but which did not have the same spirit.
Nevertheless, God never ceases to try to open our spiritual eyes. He does it in different ways. One of the ways he has been using with me is through the work I do at the Southern Union Revolving Fund Department. This is a fund formed by money from church members, who make their savings available to the Union office to be used in loaning money to churches or schools at a significantly lower rate than what they could get in the secular market. It is a great way to do mission work. The Union pays the investors a higher interest rate than the bank normally pays. It is a win-win situation for both parties. Investors can make partial withdrawals as they need to, or close their accounts whenever they decide to, just by writing a note.
How did God used this to teach me a lesson? Very often, when investors have to withdraw money, they send a note explaining the reason for the withdrawal. Some other times they call and apologize for having the need to take money from their funds, and promise to replace the amount as soon as they can. At first, I wondered why it is that they feel the need to explain or apologize for using their own money, but little by little I began to see my parents in every one of them. They know that everything they have is God’s. They feel responsible for the use of it, and are eager to help fulfill God’s mission of spreading the wonderful message of mercy and forgiveness.
I am so thankful to be able to witness those people’s spirit. When we loan money, and see new churches, mortgage burning ceremonies, people getting baptized, and schools receiving children that will learn about God’s love, I thank God for these faithful people that do not care about the business, but the mission, and are blessed.
is the SURF customer service and accounts manager at the Southern Union in Norcross, Georgia.
Southern Union | August 2018