I was walking and praying through the streets of my city, like I often do, but this time I was troubled. I was asking God for the provision that my family needed. Suddenly I turned a corner and was met by the imposing sight of a large building that I had never seen before. It stood, many stories tall, in shining stone, with a large flight of stone stairs reaching up to double brass-grilled glass entry doors.
I decided to take a closer look, and wondered how it was that I had never seen such a building before in this part of town. As I mounted the top of the stairs, a doorman dressed in a smart uniform opened the door and greeted me: “Good day, Mr. Husted.” This was very perplexing: I wondered, how did he know my name?
I stepped into the large, cool entry and surveyed the inside of the building. There were curving staircases on either side of the expansive interior reaching up to a mezzanine floor above. The light sparkled on brass railings and frosted glass dividers separating the many large desks of workers that flanked the upstairs and downstairs spaces. At each desk there sat sharply dressed young men and women who were busy serving apparent customers who sat across from them in deeply upholstered overstuffed chairs. The branches of potted palms arched overhead, and a warm, brilliant light infused everything in the dazzlingly luxurious picture.
As I stood drinking in my surroundings a young woman seated at a desk nearby greeted me: “Hello, Mr. Husted! Beautiful day isn’t it? Take a seat – how may I help you today?” I was dumbstruck that she knew my name; a vague uneasiness crept over me, as though I was being found out as an interloper.
“I’m sorry; I just came in to take a look.”
“That’s alright, Mr. Husted, but I’m here to serve you, if you need anything. Why don’t you take a seat?”
A shocked, “How do you know my name???” nagged at the edge of my mind as I sheepishly sat down in the comfort of the deep red velvet pile.
“That’s better, so what can I do for you, Mr. Husted?”
“I’m sorry; I must be in the wrong place…” I started.
“I can assure you, Mr. Husted, that you are in the right place, and in the best of hands.” She replied. I protested —
“How do you know my name? I’ve never been in here before.”
“On the contrary,” she responded in soothing tones.” You have an account here, and you are a member in good standing.”
“My records do show,” she broke in as she tapped on a keyboard in front of her, “that you have not made a withdrawal for quite some time, but I hope that we can remedy that today.”
“What…?” I started.
“One thing you need to know is that every transaction Counts toward your overall balance.”
“How could this be…?” I sputtered.
“My records show that you bring in a lot of deposits on the plus side. You bring a lot of worship, prayer, sacrifice…”
“What kind of… Is this a bank?
“But you need to know that everything is credited to your account: worship, prayer and good works are all excellent deposits, but you need to know that you should be bringing everything. Hurts, pain, doubts, fears everything. You need to know that everything you deposit is credited to your account.”
“Everything??” My head was spinning. I couldn’t figure out what this place was. Was it a bank? Was it some kind of church? Why was she talking about doubts and fears? “I should bring everything?”
“Yes. It’s very important that you do. Many people only deposit the good stuff – the neat and clean and tidy stuff that they think are appropriate to bring in. But I’m here to tell you that you should be bringing in EVERYTHING – because every transaction is counted as a credit to your account: Including withdrawals! …which brings us to our business today?”
“I can make a withdrawal?”
“Certainly, Sir — and may I recommend a large withdrawal at this time?”
“I’m sorry,” I was able to say as I pulled myself together, ”you must have me mistaken for someone else. I can’t take someone else’s money. I just came in here to…”
“No, Mr. Husted, I am not mistaken. You have an account with us, and are a member in good standing. I am authorized to release to you a very generous sum today. I would hope that you would begin withdrawing everything you need, in light of the fact that every transaction only counts toward your balance.”
“Fine… I guess. I don’t understand, but I’ll take what you’re authorized to give me today.”
“Very good, Mr. Husted. Do you need that in tens and twenties, or would you like that in larger bills?”
I stepped out of the shining, serene building and into the glare and bustle of the street in a daze. Could I really believe what had just happened? I felt for the large bundle of bills in my coat pocket. It was there. It was a lot of money. Was it real? Was it a vision? …and what did she mean: every transaction counts?