Summary: This is a message I preached when our church was facing a large deficit ending the year and we were going to have to let go of some staff. We had spent time in prayer the week before. We ended with our largest giving month in our history and wiped out ou

Because We Love & We Care,

Ecclesiastes 5:1-16 Romans 12:9-21 Glenville 12/18/2011

Our theme at Glenville for the past two decades has been, “we love and we care. “ This is the underlying theme that holds all that we do together. We love God and we care about people. We have had perfect strangers enter into this place and immediately sense, there is something different happening here. They sense it when we have worship, they sense it when we have homegoing services, and they sense it even when we have costume parties. When we come together, we love and we care and the Holy Spirit is at work in our midst.

Every person and every church will one day come to a fork in the road in which circumstances will force them to go either to the right or to the left. As a church, we are facing a fork in the road in which we will go one way or another in our ability to love and to care. Whatever we do for God, we ought to do it with a passion to offer our best.

Let’s meet Bobby for a moment. Bobby is eleven years old, and knows his parents 20th anniversary is coming up. He tells his parents, “Mom and Dad, you’re the greatest parents in the whole world. I sure wish I had a $100 because if I did, I would get you the best anniversary gift ever.”

In the past, Bobby had always drawn them a picture card and told them how much he loved them. Bobby’s parents were interested in seeing just what their son would get them if he had the money. The next day, they sent him a hundred dollars in the mail, with no return address, and with a typed message saying, “this is for you, to do as you please.”

Bobby was thrilled when he opened the envelope. “Wow, a hundred dollars, and it is mine to do what I want to do with it.” Two days later on his parents anniversary, the anticipation was building in their hearts as to what their son would give to them. Expectation mounted as Bobby came through shouting as he always did “Happy Anniversary!”. He presented them with another hand drawn card. In it he told them they were the best parents ever, and he loved them very much.

They smiled and said, “this card is great where is our gift.” Bobby said, “You’ve got it. I always make you a card for your gift.” His father said, “but son, you said, if you had a $100, you’d get us best anniversary gift ever.” Bobby replied, “well Dad I would have, if you had of given me the $100 when I said it. The father said, “but, son you got a $100 in the mail.” Bobby replied, “I would have used some of my money, but after I bought my new game, and two cd’s, I barely had enough left to go to the movies, so you can see why I didn’t have anything left for gifts for you.

How would you have felt if you were Bobby’s parents? Would you say that Bobby’s actions indicated that he did not love. or that he did not care, or that he did not love and did not care, or that he had a very poor understanding of what loving and caring is truly all about.

One thing for sure is, Bobby simply did not understand the concept of being grateful and demonstrating it by making personal sacrifices. To love and to care means never underestimating the Spirit when we make personal sacrifices because we are grateful for what God has done for us. Who knows how many envelopes Bobby would have received if he had of acted differently?

Let me tell you some of the ways we love and we care at Glenville. Every month there is food on the table of a group of children in Haiti in a building we helped to build, because of checks we have sent for the past decade. Every school year there are books in a classroom in an orphanage in Nigeria educating the forgotten, because of checks we have sent for two decades. There is a elderly couple in India, who have been faithful in preaching Christ at the risk of their own lives, who have a home and medicine, because of checks that leave Glenville.

Every month somewhere in Ohio’s prisons, there are inmates whose family’s have forgotten about them, but they have hope because of letters, checks and money orders from that make their way behind prison walls. Every month there is a group of people who are fed a hot full meal with dignity in the midst of praise and worship because of Glenville.

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