Brian Panichelle graduated from Geneva in 1997 with a business degree and now owns an insurance office in western Pennsylvania. One bitterly cold winter day, he got a phone call from a 78-year-old client. Her pipes were frozen and she needed help.
As her insurance provider, Brian knew all he had to do was give her the name and number of a reliable plumber and tell her to call him with the bill. But as a Christian, he knew that something more was required of him.
“Give me 20 minutes and I'll be right there,” Brian told her. Then he went home, grabbed his coveralls, a flashlight, and a hair-dryer, and spent two hours thawing the pipes under her floor.
Our nation’s current financial crisis holds heavy implications for small business owners, but Brian knows that God is bigger than economic ups and downs. So when things aren't going well in his business, he doesn't look to the latest business trends for a solution. Instead, he focuses on showing others the same faithfulness God continues to show to him. “Basically, it’s just a question of am I trusting God and am I loving my neighbor,” he says.
Do we trust God? When we hear reports of lay-offs and bail-outs, do we trust Him? As we cut down spending and plan for the future, do we rely on Him to guide our choices? And how does our trust in God affect the way we treat the people around us? Are we making it a consistent priority to put the needs of others before our own?
Praise the Lord for providing us with the answer to all of these questions. In Hebrews 10:23, Paul writes, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Even in the midst of an ever-changing economic system, our God is immovable and His promises never change.
This is a precious message for the Geneva community during these troubled times. Now more than ever, students and their families face the looming issues of tuition, financial aid, student loans and future employment. The college itself must make difficult decisions as we seek to provide excellent, Christ-centered education in the midst of these economic challenges.
Yet we know God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. He has been true to His word throughout history — to the point of sending His only Son to die so we might live — and we know He will continue to fulfill His promises. As we reflect on Christ’s birth this holiday season, join us in celebrating the promise of God’s everlasting faithfulness.
Geneva College’s Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) in Pittsburgh educates urban students for effective service in their local communities.