Father O’Malley answers the phone…
“Hello, is this Father O’Malley?” “It is.”
“This is the IRS. Can you help us?” “I can.”
“Do you know a Ted Houlihan?” “I do.”
“Is he a member of your congregation?” “He is.”
“Did he donate $10,000.00?” (pause)
Someone sent me that joke a few weeks back and I was reminded of it as we prepare to distribute statements for your 2011 charitable contributions to our church. If you gave to our church last year by check or using an envelope, please be sure to pick up your statement this Sunday so you’ll have a record for your tax deduction purposes–and so we can save the postage of mailing them. We’re always trying to be good stewards of the financial contributions you make.
Now, let me say up front that I have no idea what your statement will say and how much money you gave our church–I’ve always tried to follow the Biblical decree to stay away from the “filthy lucre” (King James) when it comes to church money. God does know, however, as we looked at in last Sunday’s message. Your right hand may not know what your left is doing, but He’spaying attention. He who is keeping up with what you do in secret also promises to reward your faithfulness.
One thing I can tell you with confidence, however much you may have given, is that your investment into the Kingdom through the ministry of The Church at Shelby Crossings brought a very good return. Just as many of you are getting end-of-the-year financial investment statements in the mail these days, I thought I’d remind you of some of the dividends paid on what you gave to our church.
To begin with, we can celebrate that several people came to faith in Christ in the past year, at least three of whom we’ll baptize this Sunday. Dozens more moved into deeper levels of discipleship than they had ever imagined. Families were changed–a number of marriages restored, and teenagers who turned back to following Christ. There were children who grew in their knowledge of God’s word, and learned to live out the principles of Scripture. The hungry were fed, their homes kept warm, and a roof provided overhead (sometimes literally). Then there were the precious little ones who were adopted into new homes.
Outside of our walls, the impact of your investment was felt literally around the world. There are churches that are being planted in at least four continents outside of North America because of our church’s mission support. There are orphans who have a roof over their head, food in their stomachs, and loving care the year round, not to mention the opportunity to hear the Gospel. There are ministries that are making a difference–some in very hard places, and others in fruitful missions where the work is joyous and the reports exciting. There are unwed mothers and unborn babies whose lives are preserved, and homeless men who are fed in the name of Jesus.
Thank you for your continued faithful “investment” into the ministry of The Church at Shelby Crossings. May we each be trustworthy managers of the resources God provides us, and may He be honored with the way we invest that which already belongs to Him to change the lives of others for eternity.
I’m so excited to be a part of The Church at Shelby Crossings, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.