Install Five Phones
Have you ever had one of those seasons in your life when everything seems to be stacked against you? Did you ever experience a time when you put every ounce of strength, will and desire into making progress but you still lost ground? I had such a season once, it was winter, and there was no work for my company. Try as we might, we couldn’t pay our business bills and had barely enough money from week to week to meet payroll for my skeleton crew. What was I going to do?
Many years ago I owned a residential and commercial tree service. In my business we cut down dangerous tress near people’s houses. Our busy season was from early spring to late fall but it was slow the rest of the year and I often struggled to keep my business afloat. This year was particularly harsh and even though I did everything I possibly could to keep my men working our future looked as bleak as the January sky.
Yet, for some reason, every day, when I walked into the office, I proclaimed loudly “Never fear the work will appear!” At first, everyone thought me odd but soon everyone started to believe that the work really would appear. Time and time again, even if we had nothing to do in the morning, by noon some job would call in and my men would rush off to do it. I did this for months until one day, walking into my office, my accountant caught me and said, “we can not pay our bills this week and there is just enough money in the bank to cover one more payroll.” Feeling like the weight of the world rested on my shoulders, I sat down at my desk and stared off into the distance, trying to think but fresh out of ideas. As I sat looking out the window, God spoke to me and said, “Install five more phones.”
“What?” I answered incredulously, “you want me to install five more phones?” “Father, I already have five phones with five lines each so what could I possibly need with five more phones?” I protested further by saying “besides, I have no work!” Though I knew the voice of my Father (and this was definitely His voice) nevertheless, His words shocked me.
I knew, however, that God was telling me to do this so I called up our phone vender and said, “Install five more phones on my system TODAY!” They said they would be right over and, telling my accountant what it would cost, she looked worried and said “we will have nothing for payroll on Friday then.” I replied, “that’s OK, God will provide.” When my brother learned of my plan to spend payroll on needless phones he stormed out of the building madder than a wet hen. My brother already thought that I had “lost it” when I left engineering school to go to Bible College and this only confirmed that I was a certifiable Christian nut. Finished, the technicians left and I went home feeling very alone.
The next morning, I woke early because I heard the wind, like a freight train, howling outside my bedroom. Stepping out my back door, I saw a tree had fallen on my house and the other trees in my yard bending over like blades of grass in a strong gale. We were in the midst of what would come to be known as the “Inaugural Day Storm,”– one of the worst weather systems to hit our region in decades. It took hours to thread my way through downed trees and snarled traffic to work, but when I entered the office, to my amazement, everyone one of those 10 phones were ringing off the wall. In fact, every one of those 5 lines on those 10 phones were lit up like Christmas lights. My brother walked in and his jaw literally dropped open. We called family and friends to man the lines. We called anyone and everyone we knew who could run a chainsaw. Trees were down on homes everywhere within a 100 mile radius of our shop and we worked 7 days a week solid for the next 4 weeks and brought in over 250,000 dollars! At the end I gave each of my employees a 2000 dollar bonus and we had enough money to get us through the rest of the winter in fine shape.
So often, we only see the immediate, the natural, the dire circumstances of our life we fear that only failure awaits us. However, when we listen to God we tap into His knowledge and wisdom and a whole new world of possibilities open up to us. None but God knew the future but because I knew God I also had access to His knowledge. I realize now that my declaration each day was more of a statement of faith that not only helped bring in work each day, but ultimately moved God to tell me to prepare for the coming storm. As a result of the testimony of listening to God’s Spirit every one of my employees, except one, started going to church and eventually became believers (even though they were a very rough bunch.) We bought new equipment, paid our debts, and rejoiced that something very special had taken place in our midst. God’s still small voice did the impossible and caused me to go from zero to hero in everyone’s eyes in less than 24 hours. I praise God for His Holy Spirit and hope that if you ever find yourself fresh out of ideas and wondering what to do next that you too will “Listen, Hear, and Obey on time.”