December 3, 2014, is a point in time my husband and I will not forget. It had been an ordinary evening until the doorbell rang and a man I didn’t know told us our shop was on fire and that he had called 911. A glance out the window showed flames engulfing the entire structure. My husband’s first thought was of Dewey, our cat who would have no escape route. Mine was that an explosion and fire like this happens to someone else—not us! Standing in front of the inferno that destroyed that large building and lots of construction equipment, I could only pray that no one would be hurt and that the wind would hold to the east so our house wouldn’t be destroyed, too.
We soon found out that the new neighbor who alerted us was an employee of the gas company and knew exactly how to turn off the gas main located in a distant corner of a field, as well as all the connections feeding the fire. Next, he was on the house roof making sure there were no dry leaves that would catch a spark. Later, he made sure that all had been reconnected properly. Then, he simply went home without even a cup of coffee.
We tell many other stories resulting from that night. They attest to God’s timing and mercy. Almost a year later we have rebuilt and continue to reflect and give thanks for those who “came along side” at a time of urgent need.
What does this have to do with a stewardship message? Romans 12:13 tells us to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Stewardship is giving willingly and joyfully of one’s time, talent, energy, and resources to others. We see Liberty as a focus place for defining and, then, serving those who need someone to “come along side” through many near and wide ministries. Not everyone can be part of a medical team to Honduras or a Stephen’s minister, but there is something we can all do. The framework to accomplish all the ministering opportunities comes with a price tag. It doesn’t happen by wishing it so but by trusting our Lord as He accepts and uses our dollars in ways that bring His love, peace, and mercy to those who need to receive it.
Strangely enough, we have been blessed in many ways through last year’s fire. My husband could have been a victim like Dewey the Cat, if he had worked in the shop even 30 minutes longer before coming into the house. We received an outpouring of love and practical help from family, friends, neighbors, and the volunteers from six fire departments. Even the insurance company proved to be more generous than we expected! We experienced “coming along side” in a very personal way and will respond to the stewardship committee’s request to give a 13th month offering during 2016. How could we not?
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