Don’t Chase Buffaloes
Reprinted with permission from the January 1994 issue of Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Box 794, Wheaton, Ill. 60189
The following story was told to me following a 1992 seminar in Capetown, South Africa. It is an example of how one church leader allowed God to lead him to find local support for his congregation. The story is told in his own words:
"Several years ago, I was invited to minister in various churches in America. While there, I phoned home to check on my family. My wife was not there at the time, but my sister-in-law answered the phone. After telling me that everyone was well, she gave me this puzzling message. God had appeared to her in a dream and told her to tell me: 'When you are in America, don't chase buffaloes.' What that could mean I did not know; but after I hung up the phone, I asked God to make the message clear.
"One Sunday evening after preaching in a local church, I was given the offering in cash. They did not write out a check for the amount, but simply gave me what was given in the collection. As I counted the money, I came across an American five-cent piece with a buffalo on it -- a buffalo nickel.
"When I saw this, I immediately associated it with the message of my sister-in-law's dream. I knew that God was telling me that while in America I was not to pursue money. I accepted this from the Lord, but I did not realize how this would be tested in the next several days.
"The next morning I had breakfast with a wealthy businessman. I don't know how wealthy he was, but I later learned that he owned four airplanes. He told me that he appreciated my message the evening before and wanted to help with my ministry in South Africa. He was prepared to write a check for any amount! Remembering God's instructions, I replied, "Thank you very much, but the Lord takes care of me and my people in his own way." He gave me no money.
"Shortly thereafter, I was on my way home to South Africa. On the plane from London to Johannesburg a wealthy white South African businessman was seated beside me. When he learned that I was the pastor of a non-white church near Capetown, he offered to help me financially. He was not happy with his own church which supported apartheid at that time. He preferred to help me! This man, too, asked 'How much money do you want?' Again, remembering God's instructions, I told him, 'Thank you very much, but the Lord takes care of me and my people in his own way.' I got no money from that man either.
"I returned home to discover that the people in my congregation wanted to build their own church building. We have since built a new sanctuary completely from the funds of our own people, and we found that we did not need any "buffaloes" from America."