Serving the Master
What's the story behind Yellow Dog Upholstery?
My answer these days is, "Do you want the short story or the long God story?" Surprisingly, most people want the God story. So here it is...
While this may sound funny, I believe God speaks to me through my two dogs. Dakota is a well-trained, loyal companion who is always at my feet or, at the very least, listening for and quick to obey my voice. I find great pleasure in him. Starbuck thinks he is so smart because he can let himself outside; but then he sits at the window begging to be let right back in. I wish he were more patient to wait for me when I am ready. These three aspects about my dogs—their loyalty and obedience, as well as their impatience—reflect in similar ways my relationship with God. I recognize that God has always been faithful to me, even when I have not been to Him.
Recently I have found myself desiring to be more loyal and obedient to my Lord Jesus Christ than ever before. I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to bless, in a small way, a newly widowed young lady at our church. Yet I wrestled with the decision to give away a $150 project because our family was hanging on by our fingertips financially. So I asked my daughter, Katie, for her opinion. She said, "To know what God wants you to do and not to do it is sin." That cleared it up for me. To hear this young widow later thank me was truly enough of a reward all its own. But for some reason, Almighty God decided to bless my business in an overwhelming way when our family needed it most.
I was at the lowest time in my years of self-employment serving the wholesale auto industry. My business was way down. One day my wife, Sandy, urged me to ask guidance from a friend, Mark, about how to set up a website "the really cheap way." Mark is a partner with DKY, an integrated marketing agency. He said it was funny I would ask him because he had a feeling we were in need. (Of a miracle, that is!) Mark said he would talk to his partners and call me back soon.
Three days later I was sitting in the conference room at DKY as the partners told me they were going to bless my business with, what they called, an "extreme brand makeover." That weekend, Mark's business partners, Brian and Mike, heard a sermon at the church they both attend. The three of them discussed it the following week and they decided to put into practice Proverbs 11:24-25, which says: "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
Since that meeting, Mark called me nearly every day to announce another Christian business that wanted to bless us—everything from an apparel company, a vinyl truck graphic business, a printer, a flooring company and a contractor. So far I know I have received over 100 times what I might have done for the young widow at our church. I know some people might say I've had a string of good luck, or that Mark is a great person for networking and asking others to help me, but the chain of events has had such incredible timing that God has clearly been directing. I am glad that what has happened is more than winning a lotto or getting a windfall of some sort. I have had to, and am continuing to, trust in the Lord to provide my daily needs. I hope one day to provide jobs for others in what I like to call "pay it forward." I believe God blesses us so that we can bless others.
During this week of unending favor from God, I received a call from a longtime business acquaintance saying that the self-employed men at his church were all worrying about the economy and that they were having a meeting to network their trades. I told him how I was experiencing an amazing blessing from God in my greatest time of need. He asked me to share my story with them and I was so excited to tell these Christian men that God will be their provider. I read this passage from James 4:13-17:
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.
We need to humble ourselves before the Most High God and realize that with God all things are possible. I am so thankful to Him for providing and blessing me through the generosity of so many Christian people. It is indeed humbling.
I thank God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit for making an amazing plan to save us from our self-centered life. To obey God is not always the easiest thing to do, but it always ends up being the best.