We usually try to rely on common sense. Most of the time, this is the right thing to do. However, there will be times in every believer’s life when it may not be the right thing to do. Instead, you may have to rely on what I call “uncommon sense.” I will do my best to explain this to you. Let me begin with a testimony. The year was 1997. I was the pastor of the Christian Mission Fellowship International Church in Suva, Fiji. It was a Thursday night and we met for our weekly elder’s meeting at our home on Bureta Street in Suva. We finished a meal together and then prayed. Then, we began to talk with each other about the business of the church. There were some things we desired to do, and talked about how to raise the money to do them. We knew we did not have enough money in our church bank account to pay for them. It seemed that we had enough each week to meet our expenses, but never the extra money to expand into these additional outreach programs for the Lord. None of us in the elders’ meeting could think of how we might get the financial resources we needed. So, one of us suggested we do not try to come up with an answer that evening, but that we pray about it during the coming week. Then, when we got together for our next elders’ meeting, we would discuss it again.
The following Thursday evening, we again met at our home. My wife, Nancy, prepared dinner for all of us, as was our custom for these evenings together as elders. We then had fellowship and prayed. Finally, it was time to get down to church business. I had not personally heard from the Lord in my prayers during the week, concerning how we might raise the money for the additional needs we discussed in our last meeting. I asked the elders if any of them had heard from God about this. Nobody had, and so we still did not have an answer. There seemed to be no way for us to raise the additional funds we needed. At that moment, I did not understand why we had no ideas. So, we decided to spend even more time together praying in the meeting about it.
After some additional time in prayer, one of the elders spoke up. It was Bentley Wan Chan. He said, “I have it!” well, that certainly captured our attention. God had spoken to Bentley in response to our prayers. The Holy Spirit put an incredible piece of His wisdom into Bentley’s heart, which he then shared with us. As he did, it was like a lightning bolt of grace and revelation that struck each of us. We were energized with faith and zeal. What God spoke through Bentley has become a foundation for the principles by which I have lived through these sixteen years that followed. It remains such today. Here is what Bentley said. “Let the church support an additional missionary!”
Now, to our natural minds, spending more money defied common sense. This seemed to the natural ear to be nonsense. Fortunately, we were not listening with our natural ears. We had our spiritual ears tuned in to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what we heard made “uncommon sense. ” After all, it came from our heavenly Father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. With one word, He could create streets paved with gold! He could fill the church bank account with whatever we needed… And so He did. If you have been around me for very long, you know one of my favorite sayings about the three names of God. His first name is “Faithful.” His middle name is “Faithful.” His last name is “Faithful.” He is “Faithful, Faithful, Faithful!” That should make you shout!
Looking back on that moment, I see that it sometimes takes “uncommon sense” to hear God, obey without hesitation or question, and move ahead believing He is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do. What the Holy Spirit really spoke through Bentley that night was that we should look beyond what made common sense and open the eyes of our faith. Then, God would honor our obedience to support another missionary by answering our prayer. I know that the missionary we began to support had been praying for provision and saw his prayer answered. I do not know for sure, but my guess is that he shouted too, just before he fell to his knees and thanked God.
What is there to which you need to apply a little “uncommon sense”? It may take some determination and conviction. It may take the willingness to change some things. Go ahead. Just do it. Then start shouting… and do not bother to wait until you get your prayer answered. Shout by faith!
Dr. Bob Abramson