With the price of diesel so high, How Do You Survive? It is a question that we are asked all of the time. We have been asked by friends, family, pastors, church members, other evangelists and often by the truck driver, RVer or regular Joe filling up in the fuel lane next to me. No, the question does not bother me at all.
With the stranger at the diesel pump next to me the conversation goes something like this?
You live in that thing? Actually, yes. This is our home.
Really? Really. I work on the road.
What do you do for a living? I am an evangelist. I travel from city to city singing and preaching revivals in churches. (Depending on how open the person is, I try to turn the conversation to Christ and salvation right here if I am able.)
Do you have an organization that schedules all of that for you? No
How do you know where to go? We go to churches that asked us to come and preach a revival usually from Sunday to Friday and travel on Saturday.
(I do not resent their curiosity or nosiness Some of them may be in their first conversation with a preacher and I am looking for any opening I can find to tell them about Jesus. But strangers never cease to amaze me with their boldness. I know the next question before they ask.)
How much do you charge?
How do you make money?
Do they pay you?
Are you on a salary? We do not charge anything at all. We operate completely on a freewill offering basis. The church people give us what they can and wish. We do not set a price.
With the price of diesel so high, how do you survive? Well, there is a lot that goes into it, but it all boils down to trusting God. (The answer is complex but I try to keep it simple, especially if I am trying to be a witness to someone who is not a Christian. The answer above gives me a final chance to share my Christ before we finish our transactions and go our separate ways.)
You know, the answer really does boil down to God. God knows exactly what we need when we need it. God is our paymaster and has always provided for our needs when we trusted him. Is it scary sometimes? Oh Yes! It is scary most of the time, but faith in God is like that.
I will not take time to preach it now but many of you have heard me preach the things I learned about trusting God through our 1984 Plymouth Reliant station wagon. We traveled 50,000 miles in it for about ten months in 1990 and 1991 when we first evangelized full time. I should probably preach a whole sermon on it some time.
God taught us to trust Him even when we could not trace Him. He taught us that He is in control when EVERYTHING else seems out of control. He taught us that He is still God even when we do not understand what He is doing. He taught us that where He guides, He will also provide!
How do we survive when diesel is over $4 a gallon and that gallon moves us 6-8 miles down the road depending on what we are pulling? We survive the same way we did when gas was 90 cents a gallon and buying enough of it seemed just as impossible. We do our part and allow God to do His part.
What is our part?
1. We live on a budget. Yes, it can be done even when you do not have a fixed amount of income.
2. We have no debt but the BoggsMobile.
3. We are very frugal in many areas. We try to be as careful as we can in areas where we can.
4. We realize that what God gives us is not ours, but His and we give back all we can. We tithe, we give a 2nd ten percent to other ministries, we give offerings to churches, individuals and missions.
5. We schedule as wisely as we can.
This last one is not always possible, but take this last tour through the south for an example. We left Nashville on February 8 and filled up with diesel near McCalla, Alabama that evening. The BoggsMobile has been to Waynesboro, MS, Richton, MS, Ellisville, MS, Conehatta, MS, Semmes, AL, Moss Point, MS, Mobile, AL, Fairhope, AL, Richton, MS, Citronelle, AL, Millry, AL and St. Stephens, AL since then.
Yesterday, April 15, we put about 175 gallons of diesel in the BoggsMobile in Tuscaloosa less than 30 miles from where we filled up on February 8. That is 9 weeks and 3 days between fill-ups if I counted correctly. That is a tremendous blessing, especially considering that I had filled up the bus 3 times in the first 5 weeks of the year.
In that time we were in over 60 services in at least 11 churches and 2 tent revivals.
When Pastors that asked up to come and then allow us to come when it is best for us it really, really helps. In fact all of the Pastors that we preach for are mindful of the expense of getting there and are willing to work with us on the scheduling. Now, some meeting have set dates and we either have to make a special trip, plan meetings around them or decline the invitation.
We do our part and God does the rest. I can not even describe God's part. He comes through right on time, just in time and every time. Without God all of our efforts would be in vain. Surviving is impossible for us, but not with God!
The next few months we will literally be all over the map. Some things we can not plan for and other times we make the decision that it seems like God is leading to go certain places no matter what the distance or the cost or the timing.
Those times make me even more thankful for periods like the last few months and even more thankful that God is faithful, dependable and in control.
God bless you all.