Gleanings… February 2020
I am not sure where this is going, but the question I have before me today is simple and complex at the same time. I am wondering how far am I willing to go to help someone else? Would I buy them food or cook them meals? Would I arrange for lodging at a motel, hotel, or extended stay facility or would I welcome them into my home? How much would I donate if they were experiencing a lack of money for any reason: sickness, loss of job, or natural disaster to name a few. Like many I expect my answer would be that it depends on who it is whether family, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, someone who looks like they could pay me back, or other. Maybe this question is tougher than I thought.
We are surrounded every day by people who are experiencing a “hard stretch of road.” Some are easy to see while others do a good job of hiding their issues, but the needs are there. We have, as a caring society, established programs, facilities, agencies, and relief organizations to help others. Our nation provides a minimum of security through Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, FEMA, and, I am sure, others. Each of these can help because the population of citizens in this country is willing to be taxed to support them. At the same time, religious institutions and relief agencies support relief efforts to assist when the need arises.
Added to these visible efforts are a multitude of organizations who facilitate the work of mission teams around the world. Youth groups, family groups, mission teams, and medical teams go into the world every year to provide what care and help they can. The number of people who participate is staggering. The amount of money that goes to support their efforts is overwhelming. And year after year the work goes on because the need is constantly before us.
Now, back to the original question of how much I am willing to do to help. Do you realize that your church is one of those organizations that facilitate the efforts of helping others in emergencies, crises, and disasters? Because of our locations, we can provide needed resources to our communities. Because we are part of a district in Holston Conference, we can support agencies that help with medical care, nutrition, after school care, summer camp, and others. Because we are part of the Holston Conference, we can offer homes for children with no home or family, care facilities for the aged and infirm, and send missionaries to teach, help, and heal in many parts of our world. Now multiply all of that by the number of Annual Conferences around the world. What you do through your church truly has global consequences.
And so, I want to start by saying, “well done.” You are making a difference through your support of your church. At the same time, we could be doing more. The opportunity to help others grows with the number of disasters and emergencies that occur every day, every year. When we give to support our church, we participate in efforts to help others both at home and abroad. By choosing to support these efforts, we model the mercy and compassion of God to others. By modeling God’s mercy and compassion, we say “thank you” to God for God’s grace toward us. We are blessed because we have blessed others.
This year as you consider your support of your church, think about the ways you are helping others. As members of The United Methodist Church, we commit to support it through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. May God lead you in discovering how you can grow your support that the Kingdom of God may come upon the earth.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Braxton ><>