Putting the Things of God First
In 1981, my wife, Sandra, and I purchased some land in Autaugaville, Alabama—a town with a population of 999 at the time. We called our new property “Canaan Land,” and we immediately began to develop it as a ministry to help troubled men transform their lives. At first, Sandra, and I lived in a double-wide trailer on top of the hill here at Canaan Land. A year or so after we moved in, Sandra told me she had met a lady who wanted to speak to me. My ministry director also told me I needed to make sure to thank this woman for letting the guys swim in her pool. I thought to myself, There is a pool in Autaugaville? I need to go see this.
So we went over for a visit, and the lady told us she wanted to sell the home she was living in. Her husband had passed away in a paratrooping accident, and she felt she needed to sell the house. It was perfect, but I said, “Ma’am, I can’t do anything for us until Canaan Land is paid for. I have to put the things of God first, and He will take care of me.”
I took a minute to walk around the house. There is a panel on the back porch you can see through, and I stood there with tears in my eyes, looking out over the property. I said, “Lord, thank you for my home.”
I knew it was mine, even though we had to do the things of God first. I thanked the woman for her offer, and then I told her that she needed the money more than we needed the house, so she should go ahead and sell it. I told her that I had already prayed, and that when the time was right, this would be our home.
She sold the house, and three years went by. Then one day I saw her son, and I told him I wanted to buy the house from its current owners. He said, “They just bought it three years ago; I don’t think they will be selling it.”
He called me two weeks later and asked if stuff like this happened to me all the time—because the owners had just put the house up for sale and wanted to know if I would like to see it. I said yes, and Sandra and I went over, greeted the owners, and walked through the house. I stood in the same spot where I had stood three years earlier, cried, and once again thanked God for giving us that house.
We were okay with that trailer up there, but I knew the favor of God, and I knew that was our home. During the three years we had waited, the owners before us completed renovations and made our home even better. God’s favor is limitless for those who serve Him.