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I heard the story of the minister who was leading a building campaign in his church and need to raise some additional funds. Sound familiar? One day, the minister was checking the store room (we know this isn’t a story about Benton United Methodist Church because there ain’t no store room!), and he discovered several cases of bibles that had never been opened or distributed. In his Sunday sermon, the pastor asked for three volunteers from the congregation who would be willing to go door-to-door selling these bibles for $10 each to raise money for the building fund.

Peter, Paul, and Louie all raised their hands to volunteer. The pastor knew that Peter and Paul both earned their living as salesmen and were quite capable of selling some bibles, but he had serious doubts about Louie. Louie was just a small local farmer who always tended to keep to himself because he was embarrassed by his speech impediment. Louie just stuttered very badly. Not wanting to be a discouragement to Louie, the pastor decided to let him give it a try.

The pastor stacked each man’s car with bibles after the service, and sent them on their way with instructions to report back in a week’s time. Next Sunday came, and the pastor was eager to find out how each man did. He asked Peter how many bibles he had sold. Peter proudly handed the pastor an envelope and said, “Pastor, I am proud to report I sold 20 bibles, and here is $200 for the building fund.”

“You’re a fine salesman, Peter, and the church is indebted to you,” replied the Pastor.

Then the pastor turned to Paul. “How many bibles did you sell, Paul?” asked the pastor.

Paul stuck out his chest proudly and responded, “Pastor, I’m a professional salesman, and I am pleased to offer my gifts to the church. I sold 28 bibles and here is $280 cash to go toward our new building.”

“Wonderful,” the pastor said. “It is great to have such willing people serve the congregation.”

Finally, the pastor came to Louie. A bit apprehensively the pastor asked Louie how many bibles he had sold. Louie just handed him an envelope. The pastor opened the envelope and to his amazement there was $3,200.00 inside. “Louie,” the pastor exclaimed, “are you saying you sold 320 bibles?”

Louie just nodded.

Of course, Peter and Paul could not believe it. “We’re professional salesmen. Do you mean to stand there and tell us that you sold ten times as many bibles as we did? How could you do that?”

“Yes, Louie,” the pastor said. “That does seem a bit strange. Can you tell us how you managed that feat?”

Louie just shrugged and said, “I-I-I-I re-re-really d-d-d-don’t know f-ffffor sh-sh-shure.”

Peter interrupted, “For crying out loud, Louie, just tell us what you said when these people answered the door.”

“A-a-a-a-all I-I-I-I s-s-said w-w-w-was,” Louie replied, “W-w-w-w-would y-y-y-you l-l-l-l-l-like t-t-t-to b-b-b-b-buy a b-b-b-b-b-bible f-f-for t-t-ten b-b-b-bucks o-o-o-or w-w-w-would y-y-y-you j-j-j-just l-l-l-like me to s-s-s-s-stand h-h-h-here and r-r-r-read it to y-y-y-y-y-you?”

God gives gifts to those he calls, because he calls them to their passion.

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