One Potato, Two…No, Just One.

2 Corinthians 9:10

I have gone to great length in previous posts to communicate that many small church pastors live on a meager income.  When I was young, we were often unsure of whether there would be enough food to last the week, and sometimes the day.  We often survived a couple of days on a pot of beans and fatback with cornbread. Sometimes, bologna was the sole sustenance. My sister, Pennye, recalls one occasion I had forgotten.  She happened upon my father in the kitchen looking for something to use for lunch. There was a can of corn, but when he opened it, there was a worm inside.  She said, in his frustration, he threw the can against the wall. That kind of outburst was especially unusual for my father. Daddy often tried to lighten the issue by means of humor. He quoted one deacon as saying, “Preachers should be poor and humble. Lord, we’ll keep him poor if you’ll keep him humble.”  Normally, he displayed tremendous fortitude and faith.

One of my dad’s habits was to invite home “new friends” (interpret that “bums” or “hobos”).  That was often stressful for my mom, who agonized over how to stretch the groceries for a family of five, much less one more adult.  One evening, Daddy showed up with one of his new friends.  In the kitchen, there was some hushed back-and-forth between my parents about the issue.  My dad defended his position by stating this fellow had not eaten in a couple of days, and Daddy felt led to feed him. My mom’s retort was simple; there was only one potato in the fridge, nothing else. How many slices would he like? It was a fairly tense moment. Daddy simply looked at her and said, “God will provide.” In the middle of their conversation, the doorbell rang.  They delayed answering it momentarily, until they reached a stopping point.  When my dad went to the door, no one was there.  All he found was a very full sack of groceries, roughly one week’s worth of food.  I don’t even remember what we ate that night. The memory of that sack on the porch has outweighed every other recollection of the event.


Having taken a similar career path to that of my father, I have experienced the angst of there being more week than check.  As a father, I know that empty feeling in the bottom of my stomach from being afraid of my children having that empty feeling in the bottom of their stomachs.  Through various means, God has always provided.  Sometimes, there was an abandoned sack of groceries on the porch.  Sometimes, I was offered an extra job on the side, which I always took.  Sometimes friends or family would send a card or note with some cash tucked inside.  Once, after my father died, mother opened the mailbox to find an envelope stuffed full of cash. Most often, though, my provision came from the blessings of a healthy body doing a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage. While these seem less spectacular, they are blessings none-the-less. Just ask anyone who goes without these things.

To this day, no one in the family has any idea who our benefactor was that night.  However, the entire family understands this concept: when God calls you to some task that requires personal sacrifice, giving out of your lack triggers a spiritual outpouring of his blessing. God provides what he calls you to give.  Unlike many of my fellow Bible teachers, I cannot and will not make guarantees on God’s behalf. Scripture does a sufficient job of that. Nor will I minimize God’s miraculous responses.    What I can guarantee is you will come away from the experience different than you went in.  Scripture does promise, in many places, God knows our need, God meets our need, God does more than we need, so we can, in turn, bless others.  Now, I think I’m hungry for some french fries.


Published in: on November 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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