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A Drop in the Bucket

bucketI can’t take claim for the title of this blog.  Rather, I write to lift up and celebrate the ministry of one of our adult Sunday School Classes.  The Contemporary Forum class of First United Methodist Church in Georgetown, Texas is living the scriptural command of James.  “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. . . . But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do” (James 1:22-25). The Contemporary Forum class joined in partnership with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), one of the truly great ministries of the United Methodist Church.  They raised $7,000 (which was then matched by UMCOR) to build a sustainable fresh water well in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An article on the UMCOR Website reports: “For just 50 people—most of them retired folks on fixed incomes—this goal seemed impossible at first. It would be an “over-and-above commitment,” because most members already tithed. They took two weeks to pray about it. And then, not knowing where the money would come from, they voted almost unanimously to accept the challenge.  Instead of taking a special offering or fund raising through labor-intensive projects, the class decided to spread their giving out over a period of ten months and give through sacrificial disciplines. For example, some members gave the cost of their water bill each month. Some gave the same amount that they spent on bottled water. Others gave a portion of the cost of each meal they ate out.”  (http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Resources/News-Stories/2013/July/0725-A-Drop-in-the-Bucket) In my life I take the blessing of fresh drinking water for granted.  In the lives of the recipients of this gift, those who live in the Congo, such is not always the case.  Jesus reminds us in Matthew 25 that when we have done it for the least of these, “my brothers and sisters,” we have done it to him.  We speak of our mission as “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”  This is an example of that mission lived out both in disciple making and transformation.  I give thanks to God for the faithfulness of this class and for my friend and colleague Bishop Joe Wilson (retired) who shares in leadership with them. By the way, the UMCOR website notes:  “Regular ‘drop in the bucket’ sacrifices have a lot of power. UMCOR’s entire administrative budget comes from One Great Hour of Sharing, and most of its programs are funded by grants and special offerings.” How much more could we do if we followed the Contemporary Forum’s example and gave sacrificially?  “When faith is applied to a need,” Bishop Wilson says, “miracles are always possible.”  You can support UMCOR’s Water and Sanitation projects with a donation to Advance #3020600, and you can also support UMCOR Health ministry and programs through Advance #3020622. If you’re interested in setting up a regular donation, email umcor@umcor.org or call 1-800-554-8583.