Lord's Financial Freedom
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3. Lord's Financial Freedom

Like Saint Francis

Saint Francis of AssisiThe following day, I felt like Saint Francis of Assisi (died 1226 AD) as I wrote out checks to missionary groups far and near. Most thrilling of all was the discovery of a new plateau in my spiritual life with the Lord's financial freedom. I learned the real meaning of obedience and trust in the Lord Jesus, and he gave me financial freedom. Saint Paul wrote in Philippians 4.19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." The truth of these words had dawned upon me. Many years have passed since I first trusted the Lord, and he had given me financial freedom. God has supplied them all in Jesus. In hearing and responding, I unearthed a treasure in every situation! In the crowded streets of the "Big Apple," in the orchards of Southern England, upon the treed slopes of Kentucky, God cared for me! It was wonderful!

Money Consecration

moneyCaptain Ray roaring with glee threw away his life savings. He finally gave up his money consecration in Al Smith's Home. In 1970, even as I was telling others of God, he spoke to me of something I had to do. He kept saying, "Give up your life's savings. Trust me completely in money consecration!" I was in a dilemma! God's voice was clear, but I still resisted. I argued in my mind, "Surely it is wise stewardship to keep my money back for my retirement?" Troubled in spirit, I thought of my bulky package of three thousand dollars in twenty-five and fifty dollar government bonds in my bag and what I should do with them. Then, one night, at Al Smith's home, it all came to a head. As we talked, I suddenly knew what I must do. Reaching into my briefcase, I took out the cherished, fat envelope. Turning it over in my hands, I threw it into the air! Al sat back in astonishment! Then, with a grin, he seized the broken bundle from the carpet and tossed it up too! "It didn't cost you anything to throw away my money," I laughed. Roaring with glee, we flung my former treasure around the room! I had found new freedom at last!

Large American Flag

Stars and StripesCaptain Ray, as the new Associate National Director of The Church Army, needed a large 'Stars and Stripes' American flag for an open-air street meeting in New York City. Speaking for Jesus as a Christian evangelist was a major task many years later when Church Army appointed me as Associate National Director in our New York Headquarters. A young man there kept on pestering me to take him out on open-air campaigning. I was unsure of myself and uncertain whether this was the right thing to do! I didn't want to discourage him, but I was afraid of what might happen. He just kept on needling and needling. Deep down, I knew that one day I would have to give in! One day, my secretary in Headquarters became curious as to what I was going to do next. One day, seeing me folding a large American flag, she hesitantly asked, "Ray, what in the world are you doing now?" "Ed and I are going to hold an open-air meeting on Broadway tonight," I told her. "We need the large American flag to satisfy city regulations." Scratching her head, she replied, disbelieving, "But WE DON'T DO that sort of thing in the Episcopal Church!" As I hurried downstairs with the large American flag and out unto the busy street, I called back, "I'll see you tomorrow!"

Evangelist Billy Graham

Billy GrahamCompetition from Captain Ray Lewis and the local Church Army came for evangelist Billy Graham as he preached the Gospel on 42nd street in New York City. On that evening, the young evangelist Billy Graham (1918-2018), was conducting an evangelistic campaign in our city. Ed and I decided to hold our meeting after Billy had finished. Ed had carefully worked out a plan! At the end of Billy's session, we hurried downtown to a busy corner near 42nd Street and Broadway. We knew that most people would pass by there and, at the appointed time, tied the Stars and Stripes to a lamp standard and started shouting, "We are Episcopalians, who have just heard Billy Graham preach the Gospel!"

Street Evangelism

BroadwayAnother Captain who had joined us roared back in reply, "I don't get it. Why are you shouting about Billy Graham and how well he preached?" Crowds were stopping in the street. Like a hard-fought rally in a tennis match, I countered. "It takes Billy so long to tell people about Jesus Christ as their Savior that he has no time to tell them the other wonderful news!" A large group was now hanging on our every word! "What other news is there to know?" the Captain asked. "You need to know about the Lord's Supper and about belonging to the family of the Church."

Puerto Rican Church

Joan of ArcCaptain Ray presented the Lord's grace at one of New York's Puerto Rican church's open-air meetings. Things rarely went smoothly at outdoor meetings! One evening, a young man tried to get me ruffled by calling out, "Do you think you are in the God's grace? You've got another think coming!" Fortunately for me, I remembered a situation during the trial of the saintly Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431 AD) nicknamed "the Maid of Orleans." The Bishops had put a similar question to her before burning her at the stake, and she replied, "If I am in the grace of God, I praise Him for it! If not, I pray He will put me into it!" The disgruntled heckler, lost for words, pushed his way out of the crowd at the open-air meeting and disappeared.

Open-Air Meetings

American FlagA request for different open-air meetings came from the other side of New York City. It was a hot summer evening, as Ed and I strolled from the subway to the Puerto Rican church. The dilapidated streets were alive with screaming children and wives calling to one another from upstairs windows. A sultry breeze smacked our faces. "We have a captive audience here," I told Ed. After prayers at the church, we set out. The ornate processional cross led the way with a flag on either side in support. Behind us, two strong men puffed and heaved an elaborate wooden pulpit specially made for this event. Sweat poured from their temples as they labored on.

New York Spanish Church

Open Air MeetingA New York Spanish Church holds an open-air meeting singing 'Onward Christian Soldiers' and earns the respect of the local people. Swaying to the musical strains of "Onward Christian soldiers," our little group from the New York Spanish Church marched along the street. An impressive crowd of tattered children joined in "Pied Piper style" behind. Soon it became so crowded that it was difficult to find space on the sidewalk for our extra-large wooden pulpit. When we did eventually manage to set it down, some pedestrians tried to crowd us off the corner, but a black woman sprang to our defense, "You'd better respect these preachers of the Gospel, or else!" she said in a very threatening tone. Captain Phyan translated our words into Spanish from the platform for the benefit of the crowd. The large jovial figure of the Rector, Father Gustwiller, arose. "You probably know me already," he said, "I am a crusader for better housing and lower rents in this area. I want to tell you today that I am even more concerned about your souls! I want to be more than anything else, your friend, and to welcome you to our New York Spanish Church."

"Lord's Financial Freedom"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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