Faith. James said,”You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2-3). This verse is from the letter James sent to the twelve tribes of the early Christian churches to bring truth and wisdom from the Lord. James was all about the action of the wagon wheel meeting the road. Faith without works is dead as he taught previously in Chapter 2. He taught that faithful people endure trials, trust God for His wisdom, set aside all forms of wickedness and take care of the less fortunate.
Could our MAGA movement use this type of faith today? We have been through a lot as a people. But has it been more than the founders of this nation, who declared their independence under the wings of God, while fighting for their freedom against all odds and a world empire? They sacrificed everything for those principles. We see that their success was due to faith in God, country, one another, freedom, and liberty for all. God knew their hearts. Those founders of America put it on paper for all the world to see, then committed their actions to that end. Events and things happened that were inexplicable that led to their ultimate victory and successful building of a nation. That commitment led to our love of country today, which also leads to why we are upset and unsure of what to do to restore it as we watch the institutions we trusted crumble in front of our eyes.
From history and The Word we know the early followers and disciples of Christ did not govern nations or lead militaries in war. So, how could a ragtag bunch of generally poor people with no influence in any culture or in any government of any country in which they lived help change the path of history forever?
Faith. They believed, they acted on the belief. They lived the commandments of Christ unto death if it was required of them. They did it because they knew this earth was not their eternal home. That once it all ended here, it began for all eternity there.
Where are our eyes? Are they trained on Jesus? Are we looking to do things His way, The Way that changed history and eternity forever for every human being? If he was physically standing right in front of us as He did His disciples and followers, what would he say to us collectively as well as individually? Would he want us to go charging off in a grand gesture of power and might, or would he tell us to do the one thing that was important to the Father right in front of us of each day?
The Phone Rings For Thee
After I returned from DC and had a weekend with my family I felt recharged. I headed into the office it all started as a normal Monday. I worked through the morning routine. It was about 12:15 PM and the phone rang. It was Rohit.
He was on the Senate floor and had been in negotiations over our industry’s needs much of the morning. He said he was making progress, but Sen. Kerry was causing “mischief”. They were having to give some to gain some in not only our area, but in several other unrelated negotiations over different things. That was delaying the successful conclusion. He was calling me to ask for the bottom line of what we needed.
That was above my pay grade. I told him we would need to get our association director on the line with us to flesh that out and he agreed. But there was a problem.
Our landline phone system was in the middle of an upgrade that week. I could not teleconference. Rohit was calling from the Senate floor, it did not work well for him to try it from his cell either. The old Blackberrys had the ability to teleconference when they did not drop the calls, which was often during those days. I could not take that chance. I asked him if I called our director with my Blackberry and relayed comments between the phones would that work for him? He said that would not be a problem at all. He just needed to know the acceptable parameters, so he could finish it all that day or the next.
Which is exactly what I did. I had Rohit on the landline in one ear and our director on the Blackberry in the other ear. One would say something and I would repeat it for the other. They could actually hear each other somewhat. I added my thoughts when asked. We developed a rhythm and knocked it all out in less than 10 minutes.
Goofiest thing I ever did in business. Probably the most important thing I ever did in any position I ever held as you will learn as we continue the story. We gave a little on guaranty and lender fee charges to gain some additional room on the appropriation going forward as it would help the program’s viability and not materially harm its attraction to small business owners and lenders.
Rohit told me it would be couple of days before he got back to me if nothing came up. Those couple of days went by with no contact. We were beginning to wonder as Thursday rolled around. Then the call came. Rohit got it done. It was agreed to exactly the way we discussed it. Which also meant Sen. Snowe and Rep. Velasquez had come through in conference. He said Kerry had tried to pull some last minute stunts, but they shut him down and held him to previous agreements. Did I tell you I never liked that guy? 😀
He said I could contact the association’s director to inform and that he would follow up with him in a few days. The Omnibus would go through its vote in a couple of weeks, but it was bipartisan supported and no problems were anticipated. I called the director with the news and also told him the ball was in his court, I needed to get back to work on our stuff.
My satisfaction was enhanced by the fact we did hit three of four as I hoped in Sen. Snowe’s office that day. The sacrifice of the piggybacks worked.
The Heritage Foundation, who W listened to and supported, would have preferred to kill the SBA as an agency altogether. They had stated as much and lobbied for that to happen. It was obvious that Barreto was inserted as the director of SBA by W as a tool for that purpose. To verify that was the intent, the facts are that SBA’s workforce was downsized by 30% in the Bush years during a major growth period in its loan programs usage.
What happens in any enterprise that lays off 30% of its workforce with increasing demand for its services or products? Yup – supply and servicing gridlock. Just as they planned.
The smaller businesses being supported by the 7(a) held no interest to them. They played dirty to hurt a large segment of small businesses and Americans they were to serve. They did not care. So much for believing in the RINO/globalist wings of the GOP even BIMD.
All of the political turmoil and conflict over the issues were driven by…
Scarcity Versus Abundance Mentality
Every Christian who has studied much of the Bible knows to what I am referring. One of the many wonderful things Jesus did was to guide us into the understanding of abundance. Satan wants us to experience the opposite. He wants us to suffer and have less. When we fall for that we see things as being scarce, that we better grab all we can for ourselves, and not follow Biblical principles to share with others. This leads to death and destruction.
Many people simply do not understand that God has already won the war. His ways always take precedence. Yet, the ignorant go along with losing and believe the loser.
In the SBA example above, it jumps out at the reader who was who. Who wanted to kill an agency of government that worked to promote small business growth in America? Who supported larger business and wanted to see less competition for their preferred businesses?
Which is why, despite my disagreement with many positions on other issues, that I had so much respect for Sen. Snowe. She went to the mat for us with her leadership and influence because she did not align with the faux conservative Heritage Foundation politicians, which were and still are just globalists. Rohit and Sen. Frist as majority leader pulled the strings to make sure everybody stayed in line after handling Kerry and the Senate Democrats. We gave our opponents a win on our least and their most valuable parameter. We felt the two programs and related customers could both do well and peacefully coexist. The other side would have preferred to kill all of it, but settled for enhancement of their pet program.
Ultimately the deal got done because the Lord blessed it. It was the right thing to do for America and the right people who were not self serving supported it. It worked together for good. Which would be proven BIMD as well as today.
For what it is worth, the word “abundance” is used over 230 times in The Word. It is found from Genesis to Revelation. Must be a pretty important principle for us to understand, right?
You can identify many of the enemies of God, of America, personal adversaries and so on by observing their words and actions relating to scarcity and abundance. My Mamaw lived in poverty all of her life, but always seemed to have enough. She used to say that people who sold scarcity were connivers.
On With The Show!
A couple of weeks later everything passed and W signed it into law. There was hardly a whimper in the press about it as it was sandwiched in with many other items. However, it was over as an issue. Included in it was a larger appropriation for the agency for future fiscal years. Our elected officials seemingly saw the light and gave us and our customers the consistent delivery we lacked while controlling the fees paid by borrowers and lenders to a manageable level.
Only a handful of people knew about how it got done in DC and even less knew about the phone incident with Rohit and the director in my office. Only Goober Gump could have experienced something like this that could have been disastrous, yet, somehow turned into a big deal.
During the next year I was asked by the director of the association to go on the Board. I literally had no time left to do so. So I recommended my NSM and he agreed. My guy was younger, experienced, very competent and did not mind the travel. He is still on that Board today, sixteen years later. He has grown his career into an industry leader.
It became time to attend the industry’s conference and trade show in New Orleans in the spring of the next year. Rock Star and Best Kid could not go because of school, so I was traveling alone. Our three owners were coming separately to experience it for the first time.
What happened upon arrival was bizarre then and still is to me. I do not want to appear self serving or aggrandizing. I prefer to stay under the radar and did even BIMD. However, I will discuss some of it here to illustrate a point that we need to be ready for when our number is called no matter how big or small the calling may appear to be. We need to stay grounded and faithful. It all fits together in the magnificent mosaic of Yahweh.
For this part of the story I will just go point by point.
I checked in at the front desk of the Wyndham downtown. They said my room had been upgraded. I asked if that upgrade could be given to my CEO and his wife since I was traveling alone. They and my CEO both declined. So I took the room key and headed to the elevator.
I immediately noticed in the elevator it was on the top floor. It turned out it was the only suite or room on that floor.
I did not go in. Oh my, I thought, what have they done? So, I rode back down the elevator and went to the front desk. I told them there must be a mistake, the room key was to the Presidential Suite. No, the desk clerk replied, it was mine for the duration of the conference, that I should enjoy myself and if I needed anything to just pick up the phone.
I could not believe it. A $4000 per night suite for one hillbilly. It still did not register why this had happened.
This guy had stayed in nice lodging before, but nothing this opulent. Several thousand feet of space, huge dining room with a 24 seat formal dining table and big kitchen, fireplace in the formal living room, grand piano, six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, and on and on. All with a beautiful view of the city and river with just me in it. Ridiculous.
I called my wife and told her that I wished she and daughter were there with me, that it did not feel right without them. She told me to enjoy, make photos, and stay out of trouble! 😎
Sleep did not come easy that night. That whole scene ain’t me. My style is more like sitting on our screened deck watching an east TN sunset with Rock Star before hitting the sack even BIMD. I ended up using the suite for meetings with prospective employees after giving the owners a tour.
After breakfast the next day the director gave his opening remarks. There were about 400 people from the industry in attendance and the mood was good. The economy and industry were rocking, the mood was good.
On the agenda was an item that said Special Recognition. It still had not dawned on me that something was up, but it was. A short time into his opening remarks the director said he wanted to recognize the efforts of all those who helped with the recent legislative efforts to restore the program, but one person in particular he wanted to come forward to accept a special award from the association in gratitude of his efforts.
Uh, oh. Goober Gump heard his name called. It finally dawned on me what had happened. Our association had paid for my lodging and travel expenses as a gift of appreciation.
I remember being shoved up the aisle by my CEO to accept it. It seemed like such a long walk. Fortunately, I only had to mumble a few words of appreciation and give credit to those in attendance in our industry as well as the director for all they had done. I was in shock as I returned to our table. The owners were smiling ear to ear. They had been in on it.
One of the first to congratulate me at the lunch break was the DC lobbyist. He told the director what had happened with our visits in DC. You just never know.
The downside was everybody became my friend at the conference after that, even competitors. Funny how that works. If you have money to lend or invest, fame, or perceived power and influence; everybody becomes your friend. It is all so fakey and superficial.
The second evening of the conference a few of us decided to take a walk through the Quarter to stretch our legs since it was just a couple of blocks away. I had heard wild stories, but not seen it for myself. The stories are probably true. As an example there was a young woman standing on a pedestal beside the entrance to one bar, wearing only an accordion that she played – across the street from an old, historic church. The party pros in our walking group who frequented the area in the past knew which side streets to not go down, which was concerning. How did they know and what happened there?
I lost all interest in ever choosing to visit there again.
The conference ended and all of us headed home. I received a hero’s welcome at the office, which was humbling. It did give me the opportunity to explain how the Lord wove it all together and that I was just a messenger that he used. He deserved all of their praise.
As the summer was winding down one evening I turned on the news on TV to see a report about a newly forming hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico with the name of Katrina. It looked like it was becoming huge and heading toward Category 5 status. Its tracking was being predicted on a path toward… N’awlins.
That hotel and its Presidential Suite were about to become ground zero in a weather war zone. An area of the country I planned to never return to became one I did return to with emergency relief and construction teams from our church and other relief organizations. More on that later.
The highs and lows of my time in N’awlins brought to mind the famous quote by Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Stayed tuned, the seas will turn choppy soon enough for Goober and team. Change is always the constant. Our outlook helps to determine how well we deal with it.