I open and close most of my prayers with those words. I’ll slowly become aware of the morning sun as I sleep off another late-night run, and I’ll think, “Thank you, dear Lord. Thank you for….” I don’t always start my list with the most important item, or with the most recent. I offer my gratitude for items that spill out of me in no particular order.
I’d like to do the same here today. So, in no particular order, I would like to thank the following parties:
Seminaries who only use the BFM
Deacons, male and female
GA/RA coordinators, if any still exist
Seminaries who use Abstracts from their charters
Former IMB missionaries
The Cooperative Program
Pastors of all sorts
Sunday School teachers
Calvinists, TULIP or otherwise
Seminary professors and instructors
Young, Restless, and Reformed folks
Dave Miller’s New Baptist Majority party
Bloggers, both the bathrobe wearers and the normal ones
Those people who signed that document that upset people
Those people who didn’t sign that document that upset people
I would like to thank them, in no particular order, for:
Giving to the Lottie Moon Missions Offering
Giving to the Cooperative Program via their churches and associations
The IMB should soon issue their report on the Lottie Moon offering. Their report will focus on monies received via designated giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As most people know, 100% of Lottie Moon funds go to field expenses; none of it stays to cover costs in the US. Read that sentence again: As most people know, 100% of Lottie Moon funds go to field expenses; none of it stays to cover costs in the US. For the offering this year, my understanding is that giving was up, but did not come close to meeting what the organization predicted would be necessary.
By the way, the most important part of that last sentence was “giving.”
In this day of financial insecurity and economic difficult, people were giving. In this world of religious plurality, people have been giving. When there are more groups than ever connecting with believers using social media and coordinated campaigns, Southern Baptists remained a giving people.
Thank you for the video cameras and blank DVDs that we use to produce Bible lessons for our people group. Thank you for bus fares and train tickets. Applause is deserved for the Bibles, printer ink, office rent, apartments, support staff, and everything else you’ve paid for. Back-patting is yours for the funds that allow us to focus all our efforts on missions; I can’t imagine trying to be a bi-vocational missionary in a country where my residency status does not allow me to enter the local job market, so your funds allow us to be fully-devoted to the task.
Thank you for your vote of confidence in the IMB and its people.
Thank you for doing your part to support missions.
Thank you for sacrificing.
Recently, Dave Miller wrote the following:
“The heart and soul of the SBC is that we can be more effective in a world missions program cooperatively than we can be individually. It is obvious to me that many of our churches have forgotten that and have chosen the individual route. We need to show them the genius and the value of the Cooperative Program.” (I would add “and Lottie Moon Offerings.”)
When you give…no, now that you have already given, you’ve chosen to work cooperatively. You’ve opted to do something you can do – give – so that others can have the chance to do what they can do – teach, mobilize, evangelize.
Now, I realize that you want to be more involved.
You don’t want your contribution to missions to be simply signing the check and licking the stamp. The drive towards unilateral efforts is in part fed by this desire to do and be more.
Would you like to know that your money is going directly to field efforts? Give to the Lottie Moon missions offering once you have done your part in tithing to your church. Want to be involved with a particular project, but you don’t know how to do it without going off and doing it yourself? Earmark donations for those projects and send them to the IMB. They do everything they can do to make sure the money lands where it is needed. Want to be even more intimately involved? Connect with a missionary who is doing the very project that you’d like to support.
But – lest we lose sight of something vital here – thank you for what you’ve already done.