Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything. Instead pray about everything.” Through the years, one of my greatest frustrations with Christian people has been their tendency at times to look for things to be anxious about instead of moving forward in faith with confidence that God is with us. Churches quite often hurt their fellowship and stifle their faith by agonizing as if they are helpless in the face of trials and traveling into a dark and uncertain future. What ever happened to “If God be for us, who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31) I want to describe a scene nearly nineteen years ago at a deacon’s meeting at Crestview Baptist Church in Georgetown. I do not share this to be critical, but to illustrate my point. I have nothing but gratitude for the people who were in the room then many of whom are with the Lord. That day a spirit of gloom and doom settled over the room and faith was in short supply.
A small group of boys had gone to Royal Ambassador camp and a few of them had failed to pay. I think the total shortfall was less than one hundred dollars. I was the new pastor and in my first deacon’s meeting at a new church. Disciplinary barbs were threatened for those responsible for the shortfall. Numerous questions were asked as to how it would be made up. Observations were made that in the summertime offerings were down and such shortfalls were unacceptable. This went on for nearly twenty minutes. It was determined that each deacon should give a small gift that day as they left to try to make up the shortfall. I was horrified. Here I was a new pastor ready to see mountains moved in the midst of people who were focused on a molehill. It was customary to allow the pastor a brief word at the end of the meeting in those days. I was asked to say a few words. In retrospect, it is a wonder that I was not fired for what I had to say. I do not remember everything that I said, but I do remember this much. I said, “Men if you will follow me into these fields that are so very ripe for harvest we will have a record month of giving in August. Instead of worrying about an insignificant shortfall, we should be doing what the Lord ask us to do. If we will do that, we will never lack for resources.”
I am sure I was animated, and it might have seemed a little caustic in the setting of the discussion just completed. One or two who were there probably regretted that this “firebrand” had been brought to Georgetown.
Well, we began to work in the fields of Georgetown and August was a record month of giving. I did not preach a single sermon on giving and yet the gifts began to increase. One Sunday we had around seventeen who joined and almost every week there were several. A number of inactive members became active and supportive of the work.
Fast forward to December 2013. In the month of December, Crestview gave more money to our general fund in support of the budget than was given in the entire year of 1995 to the general fund, mission offerings, and special offerings combined. With the eyes of faith, you can see the future. Though I must admit, the future has turned out to be brighter than even I could see that day. Such a discussion in a deacon’s meeting at Crestview today is unimaginable. We just gather and marvel at the mountains that are moved out of our way.