By Michael Evans
It profoundly saddens me to hear that the Cooperative Program is down. I realize our great state has suffered major catastrophes and has an economy that is underperforming expectations.
I get that — but I believe I will borrow from Maya Angelou who once said, “Ignorance is a terrible thing. It causes families to lose their center and causes people to lose control. Ignorance knows no bounds. Old and young people, middle-aged, black white can all be ignorant.”
I heartily agree.
I know I once was young and ignorant, and now I am old and ignorant — except now I know wisdom comes from dependence upon the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
I believe those of us who know the value of the Cooperative Program have a biblical duty to enlighten those who may not be aware of the blessings that await any church that will give and support our cooperative ministries through the CP.
Elwood Baptist Church is a country church in Forest Hill, and may I tell you we always have more than enough money and then some — to borrow from Louisiana College President Rick Brewer — for anything we are led to do in the service of the Lord.
Our church has dedicated itself to giving 16% of its tithes and offerings to the Cooperative Program for decades. I would love to take personal credit, but that train had left the station long before I came on board as pastor.
The congregation will tell anyone who wants to know that many years ago they voted to contribute 16 percent, and once there, hard times came. So, for one year they decided to cut the percentage.
They told me they felt a diminution in blessings so they returned to giving 16 percent and have not ever toyed with that amount again. The old adage that you can’t outgive God really is true.
D.L. Moody once was accosted by a lady who told him she did not like his plan of giving and he told her that he liked his plan of giving better than her plan of not giving.
It is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. But, let me say this … any lack of funding while treading water until the economy gets better or until a better plan comes along will result in needs not being met from those who cannot afford to wait.
A few years ago I was blessed to work for the LBC and I can tell you from personal experience that the organization and its personnel are first rate. The people there are brothers and sisters in Christ and they want to help churches and pastors in our state if you will only let them know how to help.
It has been my experience that ignorance leads to fear and fear to anger.
Likewise, I know the Holy Scripture tells us in James 4:17, “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
So I thought that someone ought to stand up and say what they know and why I support the Cooperative Program so much.
I am just one pebble causing a very small ripple in a big stream.
But I have heard the great Welsh Revival began with a young girl standing up to say that she loved Jesus with all her heart.
Ignorance is not only a terrible thing. It is a deadly thing that will ultimately result in eternal death for those who choose to ignore His Truth.
If we preach that our nine-tenths will go farther than the unbeliever’s ten-tenths, then should we not also teach the Lord loves a cheerful giver; we cannot lose what we give Him; and, we have an obligation to support financially Christ’s Holy Cause?
This Cooperative Program train has served us so well for so long. Get on board. This train is bound for glory, this train!
Brothers and sisters, please pray about it, at least once more.
Michael Evans is pastor of Elwood Baptist Church in Forest Hill.