Well, I was in Kroger's today and had sent a clerk into the storeroom to see if they had any Ginger Ale since none was on the shelf. To while away the time, I opened a letter from one of my congregants. In it was a check from the State of Tennessee drawn against the inmate's account, payable to the prison ministry. So, the clerk comes back, says "no ginger ale" and seeing the tears in my eyes must think this guy really wanted that ginger ale.....
I went down the dog food aisle and spent a few minutes scrutinizing the labels on the bottom shelf......had to get on my knees to do that. God continually reminds me of His great power to change men, to re-create them. I am not only grateful that He does this, especially that He did it for me, but that He constantly parades His trophies of Grace before me, blessing me with their testimonies and the evidences like this of what He does with those who were once dead in trespasses and sin.
What does it mean that I see so much more of this behavior from my convicted felon brothers than I see from the respectable, pillars of the community church members? We've had an inmate who gave his tithe every month, in the form of postage stamps, to the prison work. We have inmates who because of their poor vision get large-print periodicals by mail and when they are through with them, give them to us to place in nursing homes. I've told you the story of the paroled men who pooled their funds to pay the deposit at a half-way house for one of their brothers who had no money (He is there; arrived the 31st).
I'm trying to figure a way to compare the generosity of these men to the experience we've had with free-world churches, but don't think I can do it without being misunderstood as a whiner or seeming to hint for a handout. Suffice it to say, this brother who sent that check surpassed the total amount we have ever received in support of this prison work from all churches, ever. That's fine in that God has always provided in His own way and I've learned enough to look to Him rather than depend upon men in any way. But that's quite a commentary in my on-going rant on churches and money.