The scope of God’s power and grace is breathtaking:
He is God in, through, and over all things.
From the enormously big to the unnoticeably small.
Let us do good to everyone, especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
In the gospel, thanksgiving and generosity kiss each other. Christ Jesus has blessed us through his cross. And so he calls us to give thanks for what he has done and to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, pouring ourselves out to those in need. In Christ we both receive with thanksgiving and give with joy.
Combining thankfulness and generosity is especially appropriate as we approach Thanksgiving, the beginning of the holiday season. In fact, it is the reason behind a long-standing Stone Hill tradition. For years we have taken an offering during our Thanksgiving service for the church’s Benevolence Fund. This fund was established decades ago as a way to provide for the crisis needs of congregants. Here are some examples of the typical kinds of needs covered by the Fund: contributing toward a monthly housing payment, buying some bags of groceries, assisting with bills for necessary medical and/or counseling needs, covering a utility bill. Hopefully this list helps you to see that the Benevolence Fund is used to meet real needs of real people in real difficulty.
As with all our financial processes, the Benevolence Fund is overseen by a team of people. Currently the team consists of Pastor Tracy Troxel, Dick Kantzer, and Tammy Dawkins. In response to verifiable needs, together they are authorized to allocate monies from the fund up to a predetermined cap. Requests for assistance beyond the cap require the approval of the Elder Board. The team works hard and well at ensuring the confidential, careful and timely functioning of the Benevolence Fund. I thank them for their faith-filled service in this important ministry.
At a time of year when we remember the Lord’s many goodnesses to us, let us not forget the less fortunate. More to the point, let us not forget the less fortunate within our own congregation. To borrow Paul’s terminology from the Galatians quotation above, let us be generous to everyone, especially those within our own church. Please consider prayerfully what you might contribute toward our upcoming Benevolence Fund offering at Thanksgiving.