The house was beautiful sitting high on the hill above Newport with a spectacular 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean. We had lived there a year and, as we had agreed when we bought the house, we had just signed an agreement with the builder to finish the full daylight basement, add a sun room to the main floor, and in essence more than double the living space of the house. As president of the bank I had helped guide the once troubled little bank to solid growth and profitability. The town was proud of their bank, the employees were happy and productive and I was enjoying being the town banker—helping people, heavily involved in community activities, and as we were becoming more involved in our church we were seeing some of the ministry opportunities God had for us.
And then…like a sniper shot, a hostile offer to take over the bank, at a price we did not think adequate for the shareholders and a change in culture not desired by the community nor the employees. We felt strongly that God had brought us to Newport for His ministry, not just banking, and our work there was just beginning not ending. So, why was this happening?
It was not exactly like the experiences of Daniel and his friends but there were similarities. Our faith was tested; ministry was being disrupted; ethical choices needed to be made; the decisions and outcome would be very public and affect many people. After much prayer and seeking wise counsel we decided to stand our ground. While not literally facing a fiery furnace or a den of lions, we did face an onslaught of verbal and legal attacks, law suits, counter suits, proxy fights, shareholder meetings, etc., all while trying to keep the bank functioning like it should. Through all the turmoil, haggling and harassment God gave us peace and comforted us in the knowledge that we were doing what He wanted. One of the attorneys in our cadre of advisors kept repeating a quote attributed to Daniel Boone…”Determine what is right and then do it.” The same thing that Daniel in the Bible did.
The hourly meter for the lawyers, proxy fighters and other advisors was spinning so fast it made me dizzy. Hostile takeovers in banking were so rare that our fracas received national attention. That was not particularly helpful at the time, however it would prove very beneficial later on…but that is another story. We were at peace with God’s direction and were ready to give up the job and the house if that was what God wanted. As we approached the fateful shareholder meeting that would determine the immediate destiny of the bank and affect many people, God showed He was in charge in a number of ways. As an example, on the morning of that shareholder meeting, we met with a man, who, on a handshake, agreed to sell a significant block of stock to a group of friendly investors we had put together. Our adversary had offered him quite a bit more for these shares but he said he liked us better so sold them to us. This gave us a substantial margin of votes which quashed the takeover attempt. This was not the end but just the beginning of a string of exciting and faith stretching experiences I had never dreamed I would be involved in.
As Pastor Chad pointed out in his sermon about Daniel, God wants us to stop watching others do things and go do something great for God ourselves. He asked us to rethink what we are NOT willing to give up for God. He then encouraged us to talk with God about what God wants us to give up, reminding us that the more we give up the more we get. God promises to take care of us, so this is not all about dollars and cents but about a fulfilling productive life for God.