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 while back and I was reminded of it when we distributed our statements for your 2016 charitable contributions to our church last month. Now, let me say up front that I will not be talking to the IRS on your behalf, and I have no idea what your statement said 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. But as Jesus reminded us in the sermon on the mount, God knows. Your right hand may not know what your left is doing, but He’s paying attention. And 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 got end-of-the-year financial investment statements in the mail in the last few months, 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 more than two dozen people trusted Christ and testified to their faith in believer’s baptism last year. Dozens more moved into deeper levels of discipleship than they had ever imagined. Families were changed, and a number of marriages restored. There were teenagers and children who grew in their knowledge of God’s word, and learned to live out the principles of Scripture. The hungry were fed and their homes kept warm. 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. As you heard in last Sunday’s Missions Moment, our partnership with missionaries like John and Minori Lucas of South America Mission is making an impact. 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 bellies, 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.