THE CHURCH WITH A HEART FOR GIVING
Our church loves to give. It’s a tradition established long before any of us arrived on the scene, when a pioneer group of people moving to a frontier town along the Ohio chartered a small body of like-minded believers in 1836, the year before our town was officially founded in 1837. Their sacrifice has led to 180 years of gospel ministry.
We’ve given in good times and in bad. We’ve given when we’ve had plenty to give and when we’ve had nothing. We continued to give even at the turn of the 20th century when we were nearly forced to close our doors because there were no people and no money, but faithful people gave anyway. God blessed them for it.
Sometimes giving can be measured, but most often can only be weighed by the scales of eternity. Just this month we collected a grand total of 204 Christmas shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child between our two campuses. That’s the most we’ve ever collected. Who but knows of the children and families who will be impacted by the gospel through these gifts. 3 of those children who once received these boxes overseas now sit in our church every Sunday.
We’ve given thousands of dollars for adoptions and missionaries, had five figure checks written to cover transportation and facility costs, and, when we needed a demonstration of faith to step into the reality of a new building 3 years ago, God met us with $89,000 in a single day. The little church that could, thanks to a big God.
This past Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Convention in Florence, several churches were recognized for milestone Cooperative Program giving (toward national / international missions, disaster relief, seminary education, etc.), usually at the $1 million, $2 million marks, etc. Out of curiosity, we called the state convention office to see how much our congregation has given over the years. Since 1928, beginning with $179, HBC has given $1,449,648.23 to missions through CP giving. This small band of believers in a small town with small means have nevertheless believed in the provision of a faithful God, for nothing is impossible with God. So we give, knowing that God will use our 5 loaves and small fish to feed multitudes.
Around here, though, giving isn’t just about money, although that’s certainly a part of our equation. We give in other ways too. We give through Worship, asking God that our worship and work be acceptable as an offering unto him; we give through Relationships and through Discipleship, seeking to invest in one another and in the next generation so that they might tell the story of the God who works through ordinary people in extraordinary ways; and we give through Ministry, showing God’s love to our community and our world so that we might share his love with others. We give to Jesus by serving his church and serving those he came to save.
If it’s true that you are never more like Jesus than than when you give, thanks for being like Jesus, church.
Barry E. Fields - Philippians 1:3-6