|Sardis Baptist Church was a small congre-gation nestled at the conflu-ence of two country roads in a rural community south of Atlanta. |
When I arrived there as a fresh, wet-behind-the-ears minister just out of seminary, I found an educational building that was woefully out of date. Classrooms were cramped and drafty and noisy, the fellowship hall could not accommodate most congregational gatherings, and there was no office space.
After much discussion and prayer the decision was made to replace the old building with a new one. Plans were drawn and a local builder was hired, but the first task was to remove the existing structure. So early one Saturday morning, a large crew of volunteers showed up with sledge hammers, chain saws, and other implements of destruction to take down the old building.
About midday an elderly man named Charlie showed up to watch the proceedings. I noted a sadness in his eyes. I wondered if, perhaps, he was opposed to the building project and had not made his views known.
I asked one of his sons about it. ďNo,Ē he replied, ďDaddy knows this needs to be done, and he will be generous with his gifts. Itís just that this old building was the one his generation built, and it was hard on them. They put up this building back when folks could give a dollar here, two dollars there
|because they didnít have anything else. But they didnít let that stop them, and they got this building done. Iím sure thatís what on my Daddyís mind today.Ē |
And then it hit me ó what a legacy that generation left us! Erecting a new building during the Depression era, when families couldnít afford shoes for their children, must have looked like the height of folly. Yet, they believed God and decided this was the faithful response they were being called to accomplish.
One hundred and nineteen years ago the members of First Congregational Church in Elgin, Illinois left us a legacy when they stepped out in faith and built our magnificent sanctuary. Over forty years ago another group of faithful believers left us another inspiring legacy when they constructed the current educational building.
Now you and I have the opportunity to leave a legacy for future generations as we take on the challenge of renovating the educational building. There are some who say this is not a good time to ask for money. There are some who say the project isnít needed. I am sure those same voices were raised at FCC and Sardis too. Yet, they trusted God, took a risk, and left us a legacy of which we can be proud.
What will future generations say about us in this time? Will they say we trusted God and met the challenge, or will they say we dropped the ball?
See you on Commitment Sunday, May 18. Letís make history that day.