By Bishop Jonathan Holston
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:6-7
The campaign for Imagine No Malaria is under way, and the stakes are high.
The signature goal for the South Carolina Conference is $1 million. The results will have a significant impact in the elimination of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa through prevention, treatment and education. I can’t deny the importance of your pledge to this effort, but the point of this campaign and the point of giving is never the money.
The Gospel demands more than our money. It demands our life, a commitment of who we are, as well as what we have. It demands a way of life characterized by gratitude and generosity. Giving is about a joy so great that we can’t contain it and want to share it. It’s about the ministry made possible through the gifts we offer and the transformation that giving makes possible in us.
The late Fred Craddock spoke of commitment and sacrifice in the sharing of this story: A wealthy man went to his priest with a check for $50,000 made out to the church. He handed the check to the priest, and the priest looked at it. It was a lot of money! Then the priest handed it back and said, “Go cash it in. Cash it in for quarters or dollar bills and spend 50 cents or a dollar at a time doing the Lord’s work.” The man exclaimed, “But that will take the rest of my life!” “That’s right!” answered the priest. “That is the point!”
For me, The Imagine No Malaria campaign is about committing more than money to living out our faith. It’s about connecting with United Methodists across the globe to end deaths by malaria. It’s about serving with the generous people of the South Carolina Conference who prove time and again the willingness to be challenged to achieve “God-sized” dreams. It’s about using our gifts and talents for the common good. The point is never how much money we give but how we spend our lives giving.
Indeed, it is a blessing and privilege to serve God! It is a joy to roll up our sleeves and sacrifice for something greater than ourselves and to share in a mission that makes the world a better place. This effort will require all of us to actively participate.
Therefore, in grateful response to God’s many blessings and this “God-sized” challenge, Felecia and I are contributing $100 to each district for the Imagine No Malaria Campaign. Our belief is that nothing can happen through you that is not happening to you.
We thank you in advance for your willingness to participate in this effort to save lives because the point of giving is never about the money.
By Bishop Jonathan Holston