Friday, January 21, 2011

Blessed to be a Blessing

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Trinity’s Augusta Roofing Ministry, Part 1

In early 2010 we learned about a house in Harrisburg in desperate need of repair. The homeowner is disabled, on polio-style crutches, and with rain buckets in the attic and in the rooms to deal with all the holes in his roof. He was in a hopeless situation of living in the old, family owned home, yet living only on disability with no means or ability to repair the roof. Mark, the homeowner, was outside with us through the whole renovation, always eager to do what he could. These were the early, hot days of summer in May and June of 2010. Mark is talking about having enough food and drinks for the May work teams. I’m trying to tell him we don’t want to be an imposition and be self sufficient (so we don’t take away from his limited funds) yet we’d be glad to receive his hospitality. I’m trying to navigate that line where we are partners in the work, he has his dignity, and we all are stronger in our love of God and each other after the project. I could tell Mark was getting a little exasperated with me as he wanted to do something to show his appreciation and finally he says “Look, you are saving my life!”

We had an amazing coalition of people working this huge project (Eric Long might tell you it was one of the toughest roofing jobs the church has tackled). First Assembly of God, Army Reserves at Ft. Gordon, college students, teenagers, and some of our usual great roofers from the church made this life changing project a masterpiece. After the project was completed I sent an e-mail to some of the leaders:

“Hi mission friends. Thank you again for the tremendous ministry and the partnership through May & early June as you worked so diligently on Mark's roof. The spirit and perseverance, in spite of a tough job and the early summer heat, is another inspiring example of faith in action as we bear witness to the love of Christ. I tagged a few of you leaders and hope you'll pass it on to others who worked this particular project, or who would be motivated by a reminder of the story that continues to grow.

Of course, the way this works is that one act of inspiring faith leads others to action.Today, Mark stopped by the church office. He'd been able to crank up that old blue church van sitting in the road, and though he had to leave it running in our parking lot (for fear it wouldn't crank back up), he came into the office for a few minutes to again say thank you and to give us something.

He once again expressed profound, almost teary eyed gratitude for the new roof. Mark said that with the recent rains he again gave thanks to God, and to all of you workers, that he was dry and wasn't forced to worry with rain buckets in the attic and in the rooms. He wasn't forced to worry and scramble, but could spend the time in prayer and thanksgiving.

I could see he was also holding an envelope. Mark went on to say that he hadn't been involved with church in awhile and wanted to catch up on his tithe. He had committed to giving finances as he could to both Trinity and to First Assembly.

At this point I was trying not to cry.

Mark lives on disability and lives in a home that his family has bought for him.

You've seen his house. You know how meagerly he lives. You know how he makes do with what he has, how resourceful he is. And here he was going to give us a tithe.

I thought of the power of God in our lives. I was reminded of what I'd told Mark so many times through this process, "We are merely trying to be a blessing so that you can be a blessing to others." I thought of the power of faith. I recalled the story of the Widow's Mite.

Mark handed me an envelope. It was marked with his name, "tithe," and $80!

In addition to tithing to the churches so that ministry to others will continue Mark still wants to offer the workers from the two churches a celebration type luncheon.

And now I'm more motivated for us to do some of the follow-up that a few of us have already discussed regarding a wheelchair ramp, interior renovation, etc.

Blessings as you continue to serve the Risen Christ in our community,”

Rev. Scott Parrish

Prayer Request
Pray for all we serve in mission and ministry that we would have the correct humble attitude of a servant of Christ, that we would seek to share the abundant love of God by our words and actions, and that we would be moved to greater acts of faith as we are blessed to be a blessing.

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