The fall of 2013 was an exhausting chapter in my family’s history. My husband and I had just moved to Columbia from another state, and although he did not have any job offers waiting for him here, there was no anxiety about finding one quickly. After all; he had never struggled to find a job before.
Six months and a hundred applications later, my husband had not received one job offer. With the rent due and our savings account exhausted, we were totally discouraged. Worried that we might be evicted, my husband expressed his fears to a pastor that he barely knew at the time.
The next morning, our rent was paid by the Fellowship Fund at Karis Church. This act of grace still blesses us to this day. If not for the Fellowship Fund, we could have missed out on a different kind of fellowship - the fellowship of the community found at our new church home.
It’s easy to dismiss financial need when we live America, because it seems inconsistent with our country’s wealth. The reality is that we have poverty and financial need in our own community, too. The man who greets you on Sunday mornings may be unemployed. The woman who prays with you every Wednesday could be a single mother who can barely feed her kids. The family you sit next to during the sermon may have just had their utilities shut off.
Financial need isn’t some far-away problem in a country we've never been to; we see the faces of it every day. I've been one of those faces.
Karis Church is in the middle of a sermon series on the book of Acts, and we are witnessing an encouraging response to need in the early church. In Acts 4:32-37, church members provided the Apostles with money that was then distributed to "any who had need." I pray that by God's grace we can more closely imitate the unity and compassion that the church in this passage was striving for.
This Sunday we have an opportunity to imitate the behavior described in Acts by giving to our Fellowship Fund. We regularly ask those at Karis to give to this fund, one where 100% of the money is spent on benevolence in our community. We’ve used this money for things like groceries, utility payments, car repairs, and even medical bills.
Will you prayerfully consider giving to this fund on Sunday during our Gathering? Chances are you or someone you love has been served at some time through the Fellowship Fund. If you fall into the former camp and finances are improving, consider giving so that someone else can be blessed as you were. If you are a part of the latter, would you give so that the elders can faithfully respond to need within our community that you may not be aware of?
If you are passionate about local benevolence, think about setting up a recurring gift on the City that directly deposits to the Fellowship Fund as frequently as you like.
Above all else, follow these instructions from 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (ESV):
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."