It’s a brand-new year and a great opportunity to decide what is really important in life and put that first.
Retired sea captain Joseph Bates knew how to put first things first. When he retired, he had been a wealthy man, but by 1846 he had used up his entire fortune to spread the news of Jesus’ return. One morning his wife, Prudence, asked him to buy some flour so that she could finish her baking. Captain Bates asked how much more flour she needed, and she said that she needed about four more pounds. So Bates went out and spent the last of his money buying the flour. When Prudence found out they had no more money, she burst into tears, sobbing: “What are we going to do?”
“I’m going to write a book and spread the Sabbath truth,” Bates replied. Prudence stared at him in shock while he tried to reassure her by saying, “The Lord will provide.”
“That’s what you always say,” Prudence cried, “but what are we gong to live on?”
Prudence left the room, and Bates sat down at his desk to work on his book about the Sabbath. He believed that when he put Jesus first, everything else would fall into line and God would provide for all their needs.
And God did provide. A half hour later Bates felt impressed to go to the post office. That same day a letter containing a $10 bill arrived from someone who felt impressed that Bates needed money. With this Bates was able to buy a barrel of flour, potatoes, and other needed items and still have money left to work on his book. Bates had the groceries delivered to his house while he went off to talk to the printer about his book.
When the groceries were delivered, Prudence thought there must be some mistake and tried to get the deliveryman to take the stuff back. Only when her husband came home with the letter did she realize that God really did provide.
At the beginning of this new year let’s put first things first. Let’s put God first, and everything else will fall into place. Just learn from the story of Joseph and Prudence Bates.
—James Nix, Passion, Purpose, and Power, pp. 56-59.
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