God’s Piggy Bank

What the Salvation Army red kettles represent;
Oral Interpretation

God’s Piggy Bank
What the Salvation Army red kettles represent

That little red kettle is God’s piggy bank
in which I contribute my spare change with thanks
for having warm clothes and a comfortable bed,
a pantry of food and a job.

That little red kettle provides God the means
to help those in crisis discover their dreams
are not vain illusions but seeds in their heart
that will (given time) start to grow.

That little red kettle invites me to share
in a way that puts feet on my promise to care
for those who are homeless or jobless or worse…
for those who are hopeless at best.

Oral Interpretation
Why a faith-healer’s legacy remains debatable

The one who prayed to cure the lame
had yet another claim to fame.
For Oral Roberts “seeding faith”
became his field of dreams.

He taught we first must give to God
as one sows seed beneath the sod,
that faith’s released and germinates
when we trust and obey.

From tent crusades to ORU,
few critics really had a clue
how God would use this homespun
Pentecostal clergyman.

I still can hear this preacher say,
that “something good is on its way.”
I heard him speak at Bel-Air Pres
proclaiming the Good News.*

A. A. Allen, Ms. Kuhlman
would pave the way for Benny Hinn,
but Oral Roberts seemed more sane
and middle of the road.

This one who blazed the sawdust trail
would minister to Tulsa well.
But that’s not all, he served the world
for which Christ came to die.

* While I was a student at Fuller Seminary in the mid-Seventies, I drove to Bel-Air Presbyterian Church to hear the well-known televangelist, college president and faith healer speak. The church’s well-known pastor, The Reverend Don Moomaw, invited Oral to be the guest preacher. While I waited in line to be seated, a black stretch limousine pulled up. Out came Carol Lawrence, veteran singer of stage and screen. She was one of several hundred who learned Oral was speaking and wanted to hear him.

My interest in seeing Oral in person dated back to my childhood. Being raised in a Pentecostal pastor’s home, our family regularly watched Oral Roberts’ healing crusades on our black and white television. While most kids played cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers, my brother and I would play “Oral Roberts.” My little brother played the invalids. I played the faith healer.

Years later as I began to sense a genuine call to ministry, I took note of Christian leaders who were making a difference in the world. I was impressed by how Oral had transitioned from a more fundamentalist fringe version of Christianity to affiliation with the United Methodist Church and a professionally produced television show featuring Hollywood celebrities. I was also impressed with the liberal arts university he began in the late Sixties. I applied for admission based on ORU’s excellent program in broadcast journalism. Although I eventually chose to attend Seattle Pacific University, several members of my extended family did attend the Tulsa school.

Sadly, not only did Oral Roberts pass away this past week, another influential Christian leader in Tulsa died last month. Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty, whose church was affiliated with Oral Roberts University, died of terminal cancer at the age of 57.