From the archives of Oral RobertsFirst of three parts

During the early days of our marriage, Evelyn and I were pastoring a little church, and I was going to college. There was no parsonage for the preacher, but a family in the church took us into their little five-room house. There were two wives, two husbands, and seven children between us, and only two bedrooms.

I couldn’t persuade the church to buy a parsonage, and we didn’t have the money to rent a house. After living with this family for three months, Evelyn said, “Oral, I’m going home to my mother, and I’ll be there until you have a house.” Now I can be without a lot of things, but I can’t be without my Evelyn.

Amazing how I can hear God’s voice. He told me during a prayer meeting one night to give my week’s salary and challenge the people in the congregation to buy a parsonage for their pastor.

I tried to convince them to purchase a parsonage, but I felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. Then I said, “I am going to start by giving my weekly salary… this $55 check I have not cashed.” Somebody raised their hand and said, “I’d like to give $50.” Another spoke up, “I’d like to give $35.” A widow said, “I’ll give $10.” And pretty soon, everyone in the church was giving.

Finally, the richest man in the church, who was known as a tightwad, said, “Well, preacher, what if I gave $1,000?”

I quickly and eagerly said, “Good, I’ll accept that! I receive that right now! The man’s face turned as red as a beet. After the service was over, he came up to me and said, “Preacher, I didn’t really mean to give that $1,000.”

“Do you want it back?” I asked.

“I can’t do that.” He replied. “That would make me look bad.”

I said, “It will spend just as well whether you want to give it or not. Just give it to us, and we’ll use it for the parsonage.” And, you know, that man got saved! He let Jesus come into his heart by giving the $1,000 that he hadn’t been ready to give to God!