Jeff Strite tells the story about a highly regarded and well-respected preacher, Owen Crouch. He had retired from full-time preaching and lived on a limited income. So he was delighted when some businessmen approached him about joining their company. Because of his sterling reputation, they wanted him to be their treasurer.
Crouch was given a decent salary to sign the company’s paperwork and make out its checks. However, the company turned out to be a fraud. The business men were dishonest. When the officers of the company were taken to court the only man whose name was on the paperwork was… you guessed it – his. He went to jail.
Jeff asks an important question, “How would you have responded to that situation?”
Owen Crouch hadn’t done anything wrong. He was lied to. Used. Exploited. And victimized. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.
But Owen Crouch didn’t think about it that way. He saw it as an opportunity to serve the Jesus he loved. He began a prison ministry. He preached. He counseled. And he baptized prisoners into Christ.
Owen Crouch truly knew and lived the meaning of Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Today ThePreachersWord begins a new weekly column, GREAT VERSES OF THE BIBLE. Yes, I know that all of God’s Word is great! Inspired. And profitable. Yet, there are some single verses that stand out as unique. Special. Singular. They are verses often read. Quoted. Or shared by others.
We all have our favorite verses that provide comfort, encouragement and consolation. Certain verses that embolden us. Strengthen us. And offer hope. Help. And direction. Every Wednesday, we will feature these kind of great verses. What is your favorite verse? Let us know. And we will try to write about it.
According to Gateway.com Philippians 4:13 ranked #4 of the top 100 most read verses in the Bible. It is often quoted and almost as often misunderstand, misused ,misapplied! This verse is not promoting possibility thinking. Nor is it the subject of boosting self-esteem. Paul is not daring his readers to dream big dreams! Think fantastic thoughts! And achieve great goals by simply saying, “I can!”
In the previous three verses Paul says, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:10-12).
Paul had suffered much for Christ. Beatings. Stoning. Imprisonment. Shipwreck. Perilous situations. Misrepresentation. Hunger. Thirst. Weariness. And sleepless nights. Why did he keep going? What was the secret of his contentment? Where did he find help? How did he overcome adversity? Who was his source of strength?
The answer to all of these questions in found in verse 13: CHRIST!
This wonderful verse offers us help and hope today. It says you can bear any burden. Cope with any trial. Perform any duty. Overcome any temptation. Deal with any adversity. Contend with any challenge. Conquer any weakness. And subdue Satan’s cunning schemes.
Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are facing today, you can find contentment, feel consolation, and receive strength. Ask Owen Crouch.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman