If a Person does not Work?
Shortly after moving to Sierra Vista, John and I opened a roofing company. We were not getting rich, but we were getting by for a new company. Then unexpectedly I got a Word from the Lord. The Lord instructed me to cease working, stop earning any wages. I had maintained a job since the age of seventeen so the very concept of not holding down a job seemed wrong and yet, the Lord told me to stop working. Friends and family quoted 2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. Uncomfortably, the Lord gave zero indication as to how we were supposed to pay our bills or how long I was supposed to avoid working. It did not seem scriptural and I wasn’t sure what to do.
A few days later John and I were at church when he approached me saying, the Lord told him in a dream that I was not supposed to work any longer. A little later in the service, Pastor Larry Deason pulled me aside to confirm the Lord had told him the same thing. He said the Lord told him He was putting me on an extended faith walk.
For the next two years I did not work; nevertheless, the Lord provided our needs. Even though the roofing company only seemed to be doing well when I was not on the job, I just couldn’t seem to reconcile the idea of not working. Soon I just had to pull out of the company. Though Pam’s parents help out a great deal, I couldn’t explain where the rest of the money was coming from. We lacked for none of the basic needs of food, clothes or a place to live. There were many times we had to wait to make rent or purchase food but somehow everything seemed to stretch to the limit. In two years we did not go hungry or lacked for a place to lay our heads. Then it was time for Pam and me to leave Shiloh Ministries. The Lord instructed us to return to
Tucson, Arizona and remain there until told otherwise. At that time I assumed I was to return to the work place. Oops, I guess I was wrong.
The first job I acquired after returning to Tucson was a firm called Kelly Advertising. The job required me to go on the road and I saw this as a ministry opportunity. My family joined me as I offered Golf and Bowling scorecards to Golf courses and Bowling Alleys around the Southwest. The firm’s sales people would then come in and sell advertising around the card’s perimeter. Within four months the company became insolvent and we returned to Tucson.
Once back in Tucson, I returned to Hayes Inc. Roofing; my previous place of employment and Pam’s father’s company. I worked there as a roofing estimator and repairman. The company seemed to be doing well when I first returned to work; unfortunately, the company was on a steady course towards bankruptcy.
In December of 1989 while working for Hayes roofing the Lord spoke to me saying, “I am closing all the doors to ministry.” I knew this was something which was coming, but not immediate. Once a month for the next three months I heard the same Word from the Lord. Then in April nearly thirty gigs (ministry engagements) cancelled. Approximately one month later, the end of May first of June I was severely injured, breaking my neck and requiring bedrest for the next year. Sadly, by that time the company was sold.
Even after I was injured I couldn’t seem to accept that I was not allowed to make a living. I thought I might simply be paranoid after Sierra Vista, Arizona. I couldn’t imagine I would not be allowed to work for years.
Industrious as always, during my time working at Hayes Inc., I was also a representative for a multi-level marketing firm named Fund America. Though I believed in the product and applied myself to success in the company it was for naught; the US Government decided it was a pyramid scheme and tied the company up in courts for three years. By the time Fund America cleared its name the company was ruined and forced into bankruptcy.
The next business I was involved with was a car-stereo company. I wasn’t looking for work or wanting to own a company at that time; nevertheless, a friend needed my truck for moving inventory and I was happy to help at no charge. The company started doing well and began seeing real profit. Until that time, I was merely a helping hand; however, my friend, seeing the success, offered me half of the company if I’d but put up half the investment and continue transporting inventory with my truck. I accepted. Approximately one month later we became partners and broke even. Oh happy days!
Christmas was steadily approaching and my partner wanted to increase our inventory by one hundred percent. I said no, thinking we were doing well and should take things slowly. He on the other hand thought we should double our inventory and add another $50.000.00 to our debt. He was probably right. Tragically, on November 26th the company was burglarized and the thieves took over $35,000.00 worth of inventory. Like a hardware store a car stereo company must have multiple speaker systems, amplifiers and stereos. The thieves stole the core of our inventory. With Christmas just around the corner we had no time to restore our inventory before the Christmas season was over. Sadly, the company went bust.
During the short period of the car-stereo company’s success, we had taken a little profit and started a small jewelry stand with a nominal $5,000.00 investment. The Jewelry Company was established through another multi-level marketing company named Jewel-way. Unbelievably, during the same month the car-stereo company bellied up, the Jewel-way company was also hit by a US Government lawsuit claiming it too was a pyramid scheme. Our entire inventory was seized until the claims could be reconciled. We did not see our investment returned for some time. It is almost funny now.
Once again, a friend needed help. This time however it was with a computer software school, different friends too. The owners were close friends with Pam and I. He was a computer software designer and Beta tester. He had opened a computer software school and needed someone to teach a few lower level classes. Though not yet proficient in the software, I had at least a good working knowledge. I told my friend I would be happy to help him out for free for just a few months. All he needed to do was pay any work related expenses. Two months later my friend’s sister discovered she had lung cancer. He was close enough to his sister that wanted to move out to California for the few months of her treatment just to help her in her time of need. My friend asked if I would consider taking on a more managerial position only until he could return. He offered to pay my general bills until his return. Once again, I agreed.
We had been great friends, almost like family before they left for California. Interestingly, only a few days before they left his wife assured me they fully trusted me and would never imagine Pam or I mistreating them, their resources or our friendship. This statement was as true then as it is now, it could not happen.
Unfortunately, by the time they returned three months later “my friend” was accusing me of taking advantage of them financially. From his perspective, our friendship was over and his company insolvent. Even though I had warned him repeatedly they were spending far too much in California and could not sustain their cash-flow, he could not hear me until it was too late. When he started the company, he had significant capital and resources in his accounts. Though I kept him informed the entire time keeping detailed records of every transaction and all his instructions, he blamed me for their new financial problems. It was too bad he didn’t take the time to look over the records. The proof was there for all to see. Nevertheless, he continued to accuse me of stealing his resources and ruining his company.
Only after enduring this final injustice did I see what was happening. In Sierra Vista, Arizona the Lord had instructed me not to work. Even though I believed the mandate was over when we left Sierra Vista, Arizona, it was not until this last incident that I could see the truth. Once I submitted to the Lord our financial situations leveled out and we have not since suffered for want in over twenty-six years. I can look back now and see why the Lord wanted this for our lives but I certainly could not see it at the beginning. Only the Lord knows for sure about the failure of each company. All we can do is learn to obey.
But isn’t that what we all have to learn, to trust and obey?
God moves in mysterious ways!
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God bless you and have a great day!