STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 77

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 77, May 29, 2020
“Addie’s Envelopes”

A woman has lost something of great value to her. A coin has been lost. She lights a lamp. She sweeps the house. She searches carefully. She searches until she finds it. And when she finds it? She calls her friends of course, and her neighbors. She gathers them all together and says, “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.” (Luke 15:8,9)

Right before the virus hit and everything shut down, I found my own “Lost coin.” The woman in the parable had to search through her whole house to find her lost coin. I only had to open the top drawer of my desk. Unfortunately, I might have had the more difficult task. Buried inside my top drawer is a collection of rare artifacts that could supply a couple of museums with floors and floors of rare artifacts…pens from the many companies promoting their business, vintage paper clips of every color and size, business cards from salespeople who came by to tell us about the latest hardware, software, church growth information and social media innovation. Various sermon notes are stuffed in. The remains of candy bars I somehow didn’t finish…now that really amazes me, I can’t believe I ever left any remains from a candy bar. The Classics IV would be glad to know I have many faded photographs. And there is more…much more. To those who adhere to the mantra that cleanliness is next to godliness, you do not want to look inside the top drawer of my desk.

So one day right before the virus shut everything down, I was rummaging through the top drawer of my desk when to my great surprise I found my “Lost coin.” The lost coin was actually a one-dollar bill. The one-dollar bill was safely tucked inside an envelope. The one-dollar bill was safely tucked inside a church offering envelope.

One of my most cherished moments during worship is when the kids come forward and I get to spend a few minutes talking with them about God. Every one of the children God has given us to shepherd and care for holds a special place in our hearts. Having a chance to tell them a story, ask some questions, try to figure out how God is working in our lives, those moments are priceless. When Addie is with us, I know there will be an added blessing. Addie always brings me an offering envelope. Written on the envelope is a brief message, and I don’t mind telling you how happy it makes me to read her messages, like the one that said, “I love it when you smile.” With the offering envelope and with the little note, there is always a one-dollar bill.

From the first day Addie gave me an envelope with a dollar in it, I have been placing the envelopes in the top drawer of my desk, saving all the envelopes for a day when we might use her offerings for a very special purpose. I didn’t know what that special purpose would be, and as five years have passed the envelopes have accumulated in the top drawer of my desk.

One day, right before the virus shut everything down, I had been upstairs in our Fellowship Hall, looking at a wall of envelopes. Our youth group and a committed core of adults are planning a mission trip to Ghana. (Note: Due to the Coronavirus the trip is now planned for the summer of 2021) Someone brought forward a brilliant idea for a fundraiser. The fundraiser involves envelopes, 200 envelopes to be precise. The two hundred envelopes have a dollar figure starting with $1 and going all the way to $200. Members and friends of the church take an envelope, and whatever dollar figure is on the envelope, they put that amount in and return the envelope. As the envelopes are taken down, a new envelope goes up. The new envelope is red, and it simply says, “THANK YOU.” I am happy to say there are more than 100 red envelopes saying “THANK YOU” on our wall now.

On that day right before the virus shut everything down, I had been up in Fellowship Hall looking at the wall of envelopes, a wall that was quickly becoming a sea of red, and I was just feeling very blessed to be part of a church that supports young people in their desire to serve the Lord. I went back downstairs to my office and for some reason I have now forgotten, I opened my top drawer. And there was one of the envelopes from Addie. At that moment, I realized the Ghana Trip Envelope Fundraiser was just the right project to support with all of Addie’s one-dollar bills, which also happened to be in envelopes. Well, now the search was on. I pulled everything out of my top drawer, and when all was said and done, I found more than 50 envelopes from Addie. Just like the woman in the bible who found her “Lost coin” there was lots of hootin’ and hollerin’. I was genuinely joyful. And God is so good. I also found an assortment of other bills, not only one-dollar bills but fives and tens and even a few twenties. All told, Addie and the additions added up to more than one hundred dollars.

I was so happy to write about this wonderful blessing. I was working on a newsletter article to let our whole church know. Then the virus hit. Everything shut down. Now figures like trillions of dollars were put before us. In the crush of the virus, I forgot about Addie’s Envelopes. Until last week. I found Addie’s Envelopes again. This time they were sitting next to my desk and it was much easier to find them. Would it surprise you to know that finding her envelopes a second time was just as much a cause of joyful celebration as the first. Maybe even more so.

The virus has done a lot to take the wind out of our sails. When everything shut down there was not much we could do. We felt helpless. Maybe we began to feel hopeless. The challenges before us as a nation and as a world are monumental. Trillions of dollars…that is a lot of zeroes representing a lot of debt and a whole lot of people who are going to struggle to pay rent and buy food and get some clothes for their kids when school starts back up.

Addie’s Envelopes are helping me to remember we cannot do everything, but we can do some things. Yesterday I went back in Fellowship Hall. I saw the wall of envelopes. I found an envelope that just about matches the amount of money we have from Addie’s Envelopes and the various additions. Today I am putting $139 dollars from Addie and her additions in an envelope and I’m dropping it off at church.

Some of our math minded members quickly figured out that if all 200 envelopes numbered from $1.00 to $200.00 were taken and turned back in, this envelope fundraiser would generate $20,100. Wow. That is a whole lot of money. Because of Addie’s Envelopes, I am going to use that wall of envelopes to remember that the way you raise $20,100 is with 200 envelopes…and one of those envelopes for $139 has been filled up with all the dollars one sweet little girl has given over five years, plus the additions of other generous friends. Addie’s Envelopes, envelopes holding one dollar each, will be part of something so much bigger than one single dollar. We have a long journey ahead of us as we recover from the Coronavirus Crisis. Addie’s Envelopes serve to remind us a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

With the love of Christ,
Wayne