The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have shown you are trustworthy in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.” Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” (Matthew 25:20-22)
God meets our needs, more often than not, through the wonderful and talented people He has put in our path. The resources available in the local church are more than enough to aid in the practical aspects of everyday life. This was my discovery when I invited our local congregation to our country farm for a bonfire and social gathering.
It was a little chilly outside, but we built a large fire and placed logs for casual seating around the perimeter. We set up tables and chairs in the pole barn for more seating, and for displaying all the wonderful food our congregation had prepared for this event. Many of the women brought homemade items to sell at cost for those looking for nice gifts for the holidays. It was then that I realized what a goldmine of talent we had in our midst.
My teenage daughter Marie interviewed our guests to find out where they worked and what talents, abilities, and hobbies they possessed. She also asked them about resources such as the best place to take your car for service and repair, good hair stylists, babysitters, restaurants, handyman services, etc.
From this information, she made a list of all these services, prettied it with an ivy border, and presented it to me. I was astounded at the company I was keeping in the church. More than that, I had a great reference sheet to use for practical everyday services I had previously struggled with.
We made several copies of this list and handed them out to other church members. Several men and women added to the list, and soon we had several pages of great referrals to choose from. I cannot tell you how many times I go to that list for times when the heat or air conditioner needs repairing, or when we were planning our oldest daughter’s wedding and needed a photographer and someone to print invitations.
In many cases, we patronized the businesses of our fellow church members. This allowed us to get to know them better and to do our part in prospering their lives. I also gave this list to co-workers and neighbors who were not part of our church. My next door neighbors were very impressed that we would share this valuable information with them, and decided to join us for Easter service. Thus, this list also became a great witnessing and outreach tool.
Dr. McIntyre and his sweet wife have told me they have many new patients who were referred by members of our church. He spoke at one of the parties that we hosted and shared on organic farming and herbal supplements. Marianne, my best friend from high school, attended and now wants to join our women’s group. She is learning more about becoming a Seventh-day Adventist, and said that we have been so helpful to her in practical ways.
Many business owners have agreed to give 10% or higher discounts to fellow church members. Also, once a quarter we meet and sponsor a woman to have her hair cut and styled, and her toes and fingernails painted. It is so fun to see the joy on her face as she is pampered and cared for by her sisters in the church. Vickie was the proud recipient last quarter, and she commented that she has never felt more cared for or loved by people outside of her immediate family.
Jeff, who is a deputy sheriff and longtime member of our church, gives lectures on neighborhood crime watch and securing your home from break-ins, etc. As a result, a vandal has been caught and brought to justice. Many members have reported feeling much more safe in their homes.
We are encouraging each other to take part in the food pantry that our church sponsors. Many of the elderly men are using their mornings or afternoons to deliver food to destitute families in the city. They also drive church members and non-members to their doctor’s appointments. Many of the elderly widows are assisted with bill paying and tax services by some of our talented church members.
John is a realtor and financial advisor, and has shared his knowledge in investing and home buying. He said that he has helped many of our members with buying the right home for their budget. Credit counseling and saving money are also some of the classes that he teaches.
Other members have set up home daycare services, started quilting and scrapbooking classes, led hunting and camping expeditions, offered counseling, provided support for autistic and special needs children, provided interior design consultations, and supported dog shelters.
It has been such a blessing to watch so many of the businesses and services in our community grow simply by patronizing them more often, and by word of mouth. We use some of the extra money we have received to help single mothers in our church with Christmas gifts or school tuition.
God has put us in a church family. With a little effort, we can each give something very important that meets the needs of others. This is what being a Seventh-day Adventist and believer is all about. Self-sacrifice and charity are who we are at our very core.
Of course, we work closely with the church and with the programs they are providing to their members. The tithes have gone up considerably as a result of the increased prosperity that the members have experienced. The overall attitude and well-being of each person in our church has improved considerably due to the care we are showing to each other.
God loves us and wants to give to us, but He has no hands but our hands. The church has long been the leader in providing help to its members. As a congregant, I am proud to do my part in making this more of a reality. The rewards are astounding!