It All Matters!

It All Matters!

Do you ever feel discouraged even though you know what you do is important? Your heart is grateful to God and generous toward others, but you doubt it matters or is worth the effort? This week brought such a sweet, surprising reminder that the Spirit is working through us when we all can use encouragement. It happened when an unexpected guest came to the church and was touched in a special way…just by several different people doing what they do.

She had come in quite distressed, without a home for shelter and at the end of her emotional rope. She was also just really cold. Dawn Weaver, our receptionist, noticed how scared and sad she was and brought her a warm drink and quilt to wrap around her shoulders while she waited. It was just the perfect weight and lined with soft fleece. Our Care coordinator Janelle spent the better part of an hour just listening and bringing words of comfort. Then the Benevolence volunteer Mary helped connect our guest with some financial help, and we sent her on her way to our local outreach partner, the FISH Food Bank. We checked with FISH later and learned that they were able to get her food and ongoing support. Did you know they have so much more than food? Just one day earlier, local outreach coordinator Chandra Hallam and I had been at the FISH Food Bank bringing our $50,000 check that helped them to open their beautiful new building debt-free.

As our guest was leaving the church, she folded the quilt to return it, but Dawn assured her, “That quilt is for you!” She began to weep and folded over the fabric to see the tag stitched with a message: “God loves you.” Then this visiting angel gave us a gift of encouragement (Hebrews 13:1-2). “I have never felt this loved and supported in a very long time,” she said.

I was oblivious to all of this because I had been on the Key Peninsula bringing our gift to Food Backpacks 4 Kids for the summer lunch program (which is doubling this year to reach more kids without enough food at home). So I had no idea when I walked in the next morning holding the door for another new visitor hauling her sewing machine. It was her first day to join the Thursday morning Comfort Quilters. As we walked in, the group was BEAMING because Dawn had just told them how their quilt had blessed our guest. “This to me is church,” Dawn said. That’s for sure! And YOU are all part of it. Your gifts keep the lights on here and spur on kingdom workers all throughout the South Sound and even the world. I am so proud to be part of a church that is both responsibly conservative in our operations and openly generous in our giving. The money we give away is always taken as a percentage off the previous year’s revenue. So we set it apart first. Then we do everything else within our means.

If you wonder whether your gift matters, this week reminded me that it always does! Your gift of showing up to work even when your spouse has health concerns, or your kids want you at home. Your gift of staying home when they really need you. Your gift of taking a chance on a new group or a new job or a ministry even when you feel you don’t have it all together. Your gift of joining a Global Outreach team even if you don’t know the language (learn more at an info session July 7). Or helping at Vacation Bible School week (and doing the motions with gusto!). Your gift of just stopping to listen to someone even if you think you are different. Your tip to the server. Your check in the basket. Your heartbroken prayer.

The Holy Spirit does not waste one drop of it!

By the way, stroll down to the new Outreach Wall on your way to HeBrews and check out the family photos to see many ways we are all on mission together. We will be swapping these out regularly because the Spirit is sending us out in so many directions. Please send me your photos and reach out if God has put something on your heart (you can email me here). Our church’s “Beyond These Walls” grants and ministry support are available to everyone because, like Dawn said, “This is church”. It’s all of us doing what we do to the glory of God and the good of all creation.

Cara Taylor
Director of Outreach

Thanks to all of you who have responded to our end-of-year giving request. Tomorrow, June 30, is the last day of our fiscal year. Whether it is bringing your giving up to date or making a special year-end gift to your church, every single dollar matters, and we are grateful for your continued, incredible generosity!  

Pastor Mark