By Larry D. Word
In the summer of 1959 a team of evangelists conducted a crusade in Roanoke, Virginia, in which more than 280 precious souls were baptized. Among them were my mother, father, grandmother, several aunts, uncles, cousins, and three of my brothers.
Before his baptism my father used to gamble on cardplaying every weekend to make ends meet. His weekly salary was $55 a week digging ditches. At home were six hungry boys, ages four to fourteen, and one daughter, age two. My father says he never lost while gambling, because he always had a jug of moonshine on the table for his fellow gamblers to drink, which impaired their judgment.
However, after my father joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he and my mother stopped smoking and drinking, and my father immediately stopped gambling. But he still had the problem of not making enough money to feed, house, and clothe his seven children.
As he prayed about the situation, God heard his prayer. My father took up cement masonry. He worked hard at his new trade and learned fast. The harder he worked, the faster he learned his new job.
The two principles he taught his children were to return an honest tithe and liberal offering and to keep the Sabbath holy. Every evening at the dinner table the whole family would gather for family prayer, and my father taught these principles with everyday lessons.
Soon the jobs began to pay more money, and my father always returned an honest tithe and offering. He became so good at his job that he was promoted to supervisor at the place where he worked. Eventually, with some encouragement from his fellow workers, he started his own cement-finishing business.
That’s when the blessings really began to flow. We bought our first new car and our first home. My father had two trucks, a car, and all the tools and equipment needed to run his business. He was able to send his last three children to college, and my mother didn’t have to work so hard anymore just to make ends meet. He was able to buy his daughters (he had another daughter by now) pretty clothes. Yet he never forsook the church. He gave even more to the church. He became a deacon, and he took care of the grass and maintenance of the church, never charging a dime for his labor.
So the Lord blessed the Word family tremendously from the meager $55 per week. The Lord has blessed all my father’s children to reach maturity. One of his sons has a real-estate company, and his properties are worth more than $2 million. One is a firefighter for the city. Another is a nursing assistant at a Veterans’ Administration hospital and an elder in the church. Two sons learned the cement business from him. A daughter graduated from Oakwood College, has a master’s degree in education, and was voted Teacher of the Year in Florida. The other daughter is in school pursuing a master’s degree in physical therapy. The principles my father taught me served me well through a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood College and a master’s degree from Mercy University. I am also a certified public accountant.
My father’s $55 per week has multiplied to more than $1 million a year only by the blessings of the Lord, all because he and his family chose to serve God and to be faithful stewards of blessings.
Above all, the Lord has blessed us to have a stable family. Mom and Dad, as of January 13, 2000, had been married for 55 years. “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” 1 Corinthians 3:7, 8.