This is a guest post from John Ambra, Director of Development, GuideStone Financial Resources
In 21 years of working with our Mission:Dignity ministry at GuideStone, I’ve gotten thousands of thank-you notes from the retired ministers, workers and their widows we assist through the program. Some of these have been typed, but many are written with a shaky hand made weak from old age and deteriorating health.
As you can imagine, there are lots of reasons for these old soldiers of the cross to be grateful. In particular, living on low incomes after decades of sacrifice in small churches, it’s hard to make ends meet. However, with a monthly grant from Mission:Dignity, they can now buy groceries, pay the electric bill or get a necessary prescription.
But it’s not just about the money.
An old preacher sent me a handwritten note back in 1997. Even though it’s now faded, it’s still my favorite and I keep it as a constant reminder of the deeper impact of Mission:Dignity.
This is a note of thanks to someone very special to me. It is always a happy occasion to receive a gift from family or a close friend. But to receive a gift from a stranger is most heart-warming. It’s like receiving a hug from the Savior and hearing a small voice say, “You are loved and not forgotten, my son.”
Over the next few weeks, we as a Southern Baptist family have several special opportunities to remember those who have gone before us in ministry and to assure they are cared for in their old age.
Mission:Dignity will be highlighted at the Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix and we are grateful for the offering at all four sessions being designated entirely for the benefit of old preachers and their widows. All of us attending can do something to help “the least of these.”
June 25 is Mission:Dignity Sunday on the SBC calendar and it’s a day for our churches to take just a few minutes to stop and reflect on the debt of gratitude we owe to those who labored in years past. Our congregations also can share generously to assure these aged men and women are able to live with a measure of comfort, security and dignity in their declining years. You can order a Mission:Dignity Sunday kit in Phoenix at the Mission:Dignity display in the Pastors’ Conference hall or do so online at www.MDSunday.org. (Free copies of O.S. Hawkins’ new book, The Christmas Code, also will be available as a gift to Pastors’ Conference attendees.)