Each week we receive at our church office the newsletter from the Nampa Church of the Brethren. Their pastor, John Fillmore frequently writes things that inspire me. This week I asked his permission to share this with you:
In Winston’s Rawl’s book, Where the Red Fern Grows, young Billy Colman — a boy growing up in the Ozarks during the early part of the twentieth century — wanted nothing more than a pair of redbone coonhounds. When, after scrimping and saving for two years, Billy finally gets his dogs, he still has to train them. His grandfather tells him how to catch a raccoon. Billy should drill a good-sized hole in a big log, drive some nails at an angle down around the edges of the hole, and put something shiny in the bottom. The raccoon will come along, see the shiny thing, reach in to grab it, and then get trapped by the nails. Apparently raccoons, once they grab something shiny, will not let go.
There’s a lot more in Rawl’s book. If you haven’t read it, get a box of tissues first. But this one little part of the story reminds us of something important. When we are born, we come into the world with nothing. When we die, we leave it with nothing. But in the intervening years, we spend a lot of time grabbing things and holding on.
November is the month of Thanksgiving. Which combines two words, each very important in a full and good life: thanks and giving. We give thanks for our many blessings. And we give, as generously as we possibly can, to show how thankful we are.
Let me review with you what is happening this week at church. Sunday, November 17 is Consecration Sunday. We have a catered breakfast/brunch for you after each of the two morning services. (And also in the evening, at Simply Worship.) Steve Tollefson will be our guest preacher. At the end of the morning services, cards will be distributed. These cards will give you an opportunity to estimate your level of giving to God through our church in 2020. The way this is done will in no way draw attention to those who prefer not to fill out a card. We have a number of people who give and give generously, but do not fill out these cards. So why do we use them? 1) It helps us greatly in setting a budget. 2) It reminds us that giving is an act of worship. We will be bringing our cards forward to “consecrate” our commitment at the conclusion of the worship services.
Then the meal. It will be catered by “The Griddle” again this year. Eggs Benedict. Lots of fruit. Hash browns. Pastries. Fresh squeezed orange juice. Coffee, of course.
The meal is a gift from the church to you, regardless of whether you give or how much. It is a celebration of the gift this church is to each of us. If you have not yet turned in your reservation in worship, please call (208 467 1151) or just respond to this e-mail.
And by the way, one more thing from John Fillmore. Where the Red Fern Grows was written in Idaho Falls. I didn’t know that. Did you?