This is a story of God’s sovereignty and meticulous care over His people. Most Christians affirm that God is always watching over us, His eye is on the sparrow, and the hairs of our heads are all counted. I hope that this story will bring you to praise and worship our loving Creator and Savior.
The MacArthur Study Bible
Grace to You is the radio/podcast/book ministry of John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in California. Sometime in 2017, I was offered a free 20th Anniversary Edition MacArthur Study Bible. Grace to You is constantly providing resources to people at no cost to them. I didn’t need a new Bible, but I ordered one anyway. I figured I could keep it and use it as a gift.
Last September I finally found a use for it when a man ‘got saved’ while I was evangelizing at a Buckeyes game. Months went by as this young man and I could not find time to actually hook up. Eventually, I gave up hope that he really got saved and wanted a Bible. It was a bit depressing for me.
So here I am with an NKJV (I’m an ESV guy) MacArthur Study Bible with some guy’s name already written in it with a nice note. It sat in a box.
The Preacher’s Bible
At the 2018 Shepherd’s Conference (also at Grace Community Church), the much anticipated NASB Preacher’s Bible was given away to attendees. Justin Bullington, one of the founding members of The TAU (Things Above Us) Network, took one of the Bibles, and we used it as a giveaway on our website. After a few days, we declared a winner and sent out an email to everyone who had signed up. The email read, “Mark, you won the Preacher’s Bible. Contact us to confirm and we will ship it to you.”
That’s where everything started to get awkward. A little later I received an email from our Contact Us page. It was from a man named Simon in Kenya:
In one of your emails, I read that I can contact you and be gifted with the Preacher’s Bible, and thought that would be great.
So, I would be delighted if you’re able to give me a copy, it would really be of help especially now that there’s an awakening coming up in our country, and reformed churches are coming up.
My congregation would really benefit.
My heart pulled for this man, Simon. Although he misunderstood the email, I felt bad thinking he believed he could get the Bible. So I told him I could send him the 20th Anniversary MSB. He was very grateful. It was March 20 when he gave me his address. I set a reminder in my phone to take care of this for him, then life happened. It took me over a month to finally get to the point when I was ready to mail his Bible. Between being busy, and just not taking care of it, weeks had passed.
When I finally got ready to send it, I found that standard shipping rates to Kenya from central Ohio would have put the price of shipping this Bible over $200.
I had wasted over weeks of Simon’s time puttering around. And now on April 20, I was sending him a message saying, “Sorry.” I felt like a schmuck.
I try to be a cheerful giver. But I started to wonder if that was a good use of funds. I thought about having a fundraiser. I figured if I could get 30 people to give me $5-10, I could cover the shipping costs without too much encumbrance on any one person.
But instead of doing that, I posted a general question on Twitter about shipping to Kenya and how I didn’t think $250 was affordable. I figured, if someone was moved, they could offer a donation and I’d accept it, but before asking I’d just seek some wisdom.
The very same day, a good brother, PJ Mills sent me a message saying he had done some research, and that there was a company that would deliver that Bible for me to Kenya for only $25. I contacted this company, and I sent the Bible that day. The key was I had to send the Bible to these people in Texas first, and then they would take it to Kenya (I assume along with a large batch of cargo).
After two weeks of not hearing from this company in Texas, I assumed this must be a scam; and I had been scammed. I had given up hope. I resigned myself to the fact that “I’d done my best.” (Whether that assessment was honest or not is arguable).
Then on May 5th I received this email from Simon:
Grace and Peace be multiplied to you and the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Michael, I hope you are doing well and you’re still in grace. I am delighted to let you know that I received the Bible you sent me today. I’m so blessed and thankful to God for this Bible, and your generosity. My friends and I will really benefit from this copy of God’s Word.
Your ministry (Things Above Us) is also a wonderful gift that I have grown to appreciate and pray for. I have since we connected, referred some of my friends to it for wonderful learning.
The Lord bless you Brother.
Praise the Lord! After all those events, Simon eventually received a wonderful MacArthur Study Bible which will be used to shepherd His people in Kenya! Our website has been granted a loving brother to pray for us and encourage us, too! And the ministry of Grace to You ought to be encouraged to see how their diligent cause of providing resources to people was used in a roundabout way for God’s glory and to bless His people.
What love! What detail!? God truly uses the lowly things of this world, and all things really do work together for good for His people! This is just another example which He has given to open my eyes to those facts! Be encouraged, dear brother or sister, God is arranging all things according to the perfect counsel of His will.