Assistant to the President: Mission Advancement
It all arrived the same week back in April: the bleak first quarter report from my financial advisor, the high bid for an unexpected roof replacement…and the note to myself to make my quarterly contribution to my local congregation.
I’d like to tell you that I immediately did the “cheerful giver” thing and confidently moved forward—knowing the Lord would always provide.
Truth is, I paused.
My initial reaction wasn’t to joyfully start making contributions. Perhaps I could wait to make an offering to church—just until the roof is paid for and the stock market settles down. Prudent planning, I lyingly told myself.
It was hard to eventually go ahead and make my regular gift to church this spring.
With my patience in such short supply, these “pauses” in generosity, kindness, and hope the last three months have only seemed to become more frequent. I paused when my neighbor just assumed he could continue to borrow from me without asking each time. I paused when hearing viewpoints that were different than my own. I paused when seeing senseless loss of life by the hands of others. I paused when looters damaged property just blocks from my own.
These pauses have all been uncomfortable moments of growth. Yes, even when generosity is your line of work it’s still so hard.
“Read 1 Peter,” a friend suggested. It’s clear why he said it—this particular book of the Bible lays out the facts as we are experiencing them today: The calling of a Christian is a difficult one. There are going to be plenty of struggles—even more than what we’re experiencing now. But because of what God has done for us through Christ Jesus, there is also so much hope. We’re strangers on this earth, but we can continue to grow in our faith and be generous towards others for the glory of God.
1 Peter is a good read for those “pausing” a lot lately. The Missouri District knows this, too. We’ve worked with volunteers to develop a devotional series on 1 Peter called Our Hope for Years to Come. It’s something that can be done as an individual, within a small group, or even as a congregation. Look at our website at mo.lcms.org/ourhopeforyearstocome for the latest information.
In addition to God’s Word, the other thing that has repeatedly snapped me out of my “pauses” has been the constant display of your hope and generosity. The photos you provided of students and teachers participating in distance learning, as well as the shots of families worshiping in their homes were all proof that the work of the Kingdom can never be stopped. Praise God! The financial gifts made by congregations and individuals to the Missouri District during this time have been a blessing in the lives of our church workers and mission sites. Thank you.
Please know that the team at the district office is always here to serve. Give us a call at 314-590-6200 if we can support you, your school, or your church in any way. God’s blessings to you all.