By Tom Cash
While preaching my first sermon about stewardship in a small country church, the former church treasurer keeled over in the pew. No pulse, no breathing. Fortunately on that particular Sunday, four nurses, a surgeon, and an anesthesiologist were worshipping with us.
We called 911 and the children were dismissed to Sunday school. A faint pulse was found. As they raised his legs, he regained consciousness. The EMTs arrived, attached an IV, strapped him on a gurney, and took him through the old bell tower entry and down the steps to the waiting ambulance.
I walked beside him, assuring him that everyone was praying and that I would see him at the hospital. Jokingly I said, “Malcolm, leave it to you to drop into a dead faint the first time I preach about giving!”
Looking at the EMTs, Malcolm said, “Sirs, before you place me in the ambulance, can I ask you a favor? In my shirt pocket is my tithe check. Could you reach in, remove it, and give it to this young man? I do not want to leave the church property without having given back to the Lord!”
What a statement of faith! In spite of his life-threatening circumstances, Malcolm Singer intended faithfully to do what he promised to do.
Simeon and Anna were very much like Malcolm. Because of Simeon’s faithfulness, God promised that he would see the Lord’s Christ before he died. The Holy Spirit led him to the temple the very day that Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus came for Mary’s purification and Jesus’ presentation. Simeon praised God and prophesied.
Anna, an elderly widow, spent as much time as possible in the temple. Certainly she knew Simeon, and could not help seeing his enthusiasm while he talked to this young family. Approaching them, she also worshipped. But she did more. She told all who were waiting for the Christ about this event.
God is looking for faithfulness! “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Tom Cash is the senior minister at First Church of Christ in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. He and his wife, Coleeta, have two children and four grandchildren.