I was surprised. But I suppose that’s why I can put my trust in God. I was surprised to learn back in 1985 that the Bogota, TX church of Christ would be supporting me to attend Bear Valley School of Biblical Studies. It was surprising because my sermon must have been quite long. Well, actually I don’t remember how long it was but as I surveyed the audience, as I scanned across the auditorium, it appeared that nearly everyone was asleep. No kidding, more eyes were closed than open.

I do recall very clearly the drive to that congregation on Sunday morning. It was a beautiful East Texas day when driving through the “bottoms” on that drive from Mt. Vernon church of Christ to the small town of Bogota, Tx. I was familiar with that town as I for years had delivered Mrs. Baird’s bread to Huddleston’s grocery, the Tip Top cafe, Bogie’s Cafe (his mother taught me how to make gravy), and to other establishments. So I knew right where the church met. On the way to the morning services, I was deep in thought, and though I don’t remember the sermon title and exact point of the lesson, I do recall this passage, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Why, you say, do I remember that verse being in my sermon? Because I was quoting it out loud and it was at the most inopportune time. Because, my wife had just asked me if the dress she was wearing made her look fat. Yes, I don’t make up stories like this, Hazel had just asked me and like every good man, I wasn’t listening to her when matters of preaching were on my mind. And when she asked, that’s when I quoted that verse: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” She said, “What!” I then said, “What!” She explained what she just said and we both had a good laugh.

Oh, I began this little story about being surprised. I truly was surprised that this little congregation supported me a $100 a month to attend Bear Valley. The preacher there was a very good man. His last name was Cogburn. He was part of a family of brothers who were very strong in the church. He made a living, I seem to recall, by reupholstering furniture. And so though I put half the congregation to sleep, and while my wife had legitimate grounds for divorce, I was supported by them for several years. I can’t take credit for being blessed so much. The Lord surprises me all the time with his providence that comes through at the right time. God bless you. Dan Mayfield

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