Great Is Your Faithfulness
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment." 1 Timothy 6:17
Dear Friends and Leaders,
As you know, I usually send out an encouraging message each Wednesday to the entire church, that we also publish on our website and Facebook. Sometimes it contains information and updates about our church, but it's also for a wider audience and meant to be a pick-me-up in the middle of our week.
Additionally, I sent out an e-mail on Fridays for our Leaders - this is more specifically geared towards what's going on in our church and ministries, guidance for upcoming events and sometimes an encouraging word specially for leaders.
Well, today is neither Wednesday nor Friday, and this week the message I wanted to send was encouraging and specific to our church, so I thought I'd just send one communication that would hit on both.
First, as many of you know, we're privileged to be the host of the Greater Canonsburg-Houston Ministerial Association's Food Pantry. We've been so for a long time, mainly because we're centrally located and have the space to accommodate. For the past month, we've also been one of two hosts for the Pop Up Food Pantry on Mondays. We've been feeding 100+ families through it each week!
When the Ministerial Association and Mayor Rhome began this, we didn't know how many people might be in need or how much it would cost. We guessed at 200 families, 100 at each location and procured food at cost through local retailers of about $2,000. We had a couple initial contributions which covered the first distributions. Then we let people know, we invited them to give, and we sat back and prayed. What we've seen since is an incredible outpouring from our community who have the money to give! Right now, we're receiving enough each week to keep us giving out food for as long as the need is there!
As for our church… initial reports for the month of March had us down in contributions by about 1/3. That's significant, but not nearly as troubling as it could be. We recognize that some people are without work, without paychecks, and therefore without means to contribute to God's work in our community. Those that are able, continue to give, those that aren't, can't right now.
BUT… with the social distancing, less in-person time in the church office, mail not coming daily, the truth is, we're not quite as quick to receive and deposit funds as we have been. Which means that our preliminary numbers weren't quite accurate. It turns out, giving has roughly remained steady through this! We're basically on budget, even in the middle of a pandemic!
Permit me a moment to make a few guesses as to why:
1) You see the value in our gathered worship, even if we're gathered in a different way right now.
2) You see the value in our shared ministry and service to the community, even if we're not able to do all we've done in the past.
3) You recognize we're all in this together, and you want to be part of the team that helps and cares for each other.
4) You're putting your trust, not in the stock market, the job reports, the economy or any human enterprise, but in God, who promises to provide our need.
I'm greatly encouraged by you on this day. I'm encouraged by your leadership. I'm encouraged by your service. I'm encouraged by your support and your encouragement and your faithfulness. I'm encouraged because you continue to prove God's faithfulness by your own faithfulness.
I'm looking forward to "gathering" with you Sunday for worship - I think there's something tremendous for today from Mathew's gospel that we often skip over at Easter and I'm excited to share it with you.
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,