Be of Service, Like a Good Shepherd (Fund)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BK heart to care, be there

Be of Service, Like a Good Shepherd (Fund)

Most churches have benevolence or charity funds. They give away many, diverse things. Some give food, others give clothes, a few give shelter. I have heard of larger churches that have free classes—computer classes, ESL classes or sewing classes. I even know of one local church that hosts a diaper pantry! I even did a blog post about them—First United Methodist Church of Evanston. Their wonderful diaper ministry, Bundled Blessings, was featured at the end of March. I wrote them up in Feature Friday.

Even though my church, St. Luke’s Church, is a small congregation, they still try to do what they can for their community. I’ve written about their benevolence fund, too. The Good Shepherd Fund is set aside for individuals and families in need. Various kinds of needs, too. Except—not recently.

Let me elaborate. St. Luke’s Church is located between two busy thoroughfares. It is placed in a highly-visible spot. For the first several months I was at the church, there would sometimes be a knock on the church door, or an occasional ring at the church doorbell. Every two weeks or so, someone would be coming to the church with a request for benevolence. Either food, or money, or in some cases whatever we had available. However, it has been two months since anyone has come to the church for some kind of assistance.

I am not certain, but perhaps because of the recent opening of several large businesses and a grocery store in the area, there are not quite as many individuals and families in need. I am not convinced of this, but we can hope so.

Although, our church did not and still does not have any money for gasoline. Sorry about that. I wonder whether the reception and information I gave to several people earlier in the summer was communicated to others. I mean, passed around via the grapevine. I am, sadly, realistic and cynical enough to know that there is a sort of a loose ‘network’ that certain people have access to. I live several suburbs away from Morton Grove, where the church is located. However, I know several acquaintances and friends who work with the homeless and needy in my suburb. I have been told about such loose, unofficial ‘networks’ that organically grow within certain communities of people.

Truly, I want to be kind to those in need. (I’ve been in need myself, some years ago.) I say in the verse for October – Proverbs 19:17 “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full.” And, I mean it. I enjoy being able to provide for those in need, and it encourages and warms my heart, too. Except—I need knocks on the church door, and rings on the doorbell. Perhaps someone will come to the church later this week. God willing, I’ll be ready. God willing, the Good Shepherd Fund will be able to serve, to give them a helping hand.


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Helping Those in Need, Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, May 16, 2014

little lamb

Helping Those in Need, Close to Home (Feature Friday!)

Most people need a helping hand, every now and then. Some people need a helping hand more often—whether it’s because of poor health, or loss of a job, or sudden accident. It doesn’t matter why sometimes. Things happen. Just because. Or maybe it’s because of poor decisions. Or because of some one else’s mistakes. Like I said, things happen.

I’ve mentioned here about my new position, before. I am very happy to be serving this community of believers, and there are many things I have picked right up. (I’ve done some of them before, in other positions in the past.) And, several of these job skills are newer to me. I’ll need some practice, therefore, and the community is very encouraging to me.

One fascinating aspect about serving at a new church is that I am finding out about new outreaches and new missionaries. Each church and each group of believers has their own style of serving and outreach. This group here in this corner of the Chicago suburbs supports several missionaries, the local food pantry, and provides assistance for other, local people in need. The Good Shepherd Fund is a great outreach to those people who are temporarily down on their luck or otherwise in sudden need.

“It started with people coming to the door and asking for help,” said Lill, the Church Council president. “People started to come when the church was built. And people have been coming ever since. Sometimes a man, other times a woman, sometimes a couple. You never know when. And the Good Shepherd Fund is to be used at the pastor’s discretion.”

This community of believers is caring and giving. However, I know there are a whole lot of different ideas and ways of reaching out to people—each separate church, agency, or other place of worship has certain ways of doing things. So, I remembered an idea that had worked at another place. I brought it to several members on the Church Council recently. The idea met with a great deal of enthusiasm! With the Council’s blessing, I went to the local Subway sandwich shop and purchased some gift cards to distribute to those who might need a decent meal.

When I think of the Good Shepherd in John Chapter 10, I can’t help but be reminded of the One who provides for the sheep. Whether the sheep in the sheep pen, safely together with the others, or the lost sheep wandering far from familiar surroundings, the Shepherd goes after the sheep and provides for them. As the Good Shepherd’s representative, I pray that I might have the wisdom and understanding of how best to use this fund.

Now our community of believers has another way to reach out, another way to be of service. The Good Shepherd Fund can continue to be an opportunity to provide a helping hand.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.