It’s just two words but they are incredibly powerful when flowing from a heart genuinely filled with gratitude. They can be delivered a number of ways; a text, an e-mail, or better yet, a handwritten note. Think what it means if you receive a call and the person on the other end simply says, “I wanted to call and just say thank you.”
And then there is the ultimate. Someone who gives you a hug or a handshake, looks you in the eyes and sincerely says, “thanks” for something you’ve done.
You know the Bible instructs us to “Devote [our]selves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). Simple. Straightforward. Impactful: “Thank You.”
I’ve been thinking about all that I’ve seen God do through Tennessee Baptists so far this year and a sense of gratitude wells up. For instance, we have just concluded a special season of prayer for Tennessee.
Churches across our state praying over the spiritual and physical needs that make Tennessee a mission field. Churches have started to give, and will continue giving, through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, 2018-2019 version. Early indications are that this could be a record year toward our $2.1 million goal.
I am thankful that Tennessee Baptists see the needs and are generously driven to reach the more than 4 million lost souls in our state who need to be saved, baptized and set on the road to discipleship.
But I also look back and am thankful. We just finished the 2017-2018 Golden Offering giving year and Tennessee Baptists gave their second largest offering ever at more than $1.7 million. Rest assured that every penny of that money will support compassion ministry, church revitalization, church planting, leader development and so much more with the focus on winning Tennessee for Christ.
I am also thankful for how the Lord used Tennessee Baptists to serve others in need. You dear people gave over $1,000,000 to support Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief response by our teams that helped hurting people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria.
That giving was unplanned generosity above and beyond what became our second-largest Golden Offering total. As a result, countless thousands were served, heard the gospel and many came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Some giving, some going and many receiving the gospel. What a beautiful Great Commission picture that is, and my heart is filled with gratitude for you.
I’m thankful because Tennessee Baptists have caught a vision that any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.
We have more than 145 global people groups living in Tennessee and face challenging social issues like illiteracy, teen pregnancy, and widespread prescription drug abuse and poverty. People are desperate to hear the gospel and Tennessee is a mission field for which Tennessee Baptists are responsible.
But in the midst of these sizeable challenges, your faithful and sacrificial sharing of resources given by God through your hearts and your hands is supplying a gospel offensive on the front lines of a great spiritual battle for the souls of our families, friends and neighbors.
And here’s what’s most amazing. This blows me away. In the last five years, the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions has grown more than 25 percent. That astounds me. It truly humbles me that God is blessing, Tennessee Baptists are giving and lives are being eternally changed.
Tennessee Baptists, I wish I could look every one of you in the eyes and say, “Thank you.” From a heart filled with overflowing gratitude, thank you. With an inadequate vocabulary to express the depth of my appreciation for you, thank you.
With all that is within me, thank you. Now more than ever, it is a joy to be with you on this journey.