Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saint Bernard, Snow Rescuer

…All of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to love on.” (Mark 12:44)

The Saint Bernard dog is almost an icon for us, representing rescue from snowy danger.  But how did a dog come to bear the title “saint?”  The story goes that in seventh-century France there was a terrible blizzard that buried most of the countryside. People could scarcely get out of their homes, but thankful for warmth and food.  Bernard was just an ordinary man of modest station in life, but full of faith in and love for God.

Though he had hated to miss worship services on Sunday, it occurred to him that that meant he and everyone else had also missed the chance to give his weekly offering.  “I know my church’s funds were already low,” he thought to himself, “especially since just days before we sent off the last of our mission support.”  Just then, Bernard thought he heard God whisper to him, “What if the snow had meant you didn't get paid.  Would you just shrug your shoulders and say ‘Oh well, that’s too bad’?”

So, with that thought fresh in his mind, Bernard put on his coat and trudged off to the church.  “Others may or may not, but I’m going to do the right thing….”  The priest met him gladly at the door.  “Father John,” Bernard said, “I was worried about your well-being and the church.  So, here’s my offering,” and handed the priest his weekly tithe.  The priest couldn't believe it and shouted out “Bernard, you’re a saint if I ever saw one!”

Okay, that may not be the real story behind the name, but it makes for a good pastor’s article!  Nevertheless the challenge is the same: worship is not a performance and our tithes and offerings are not an admission cost.  Instead, they are a way to honor our gracious God.  Even if we can’t be present in worship every week, let’s not fail to heed His word to set aside our first fruits and bring them to this storehouse (the church) so that they can make a difference in our communities and our world! 

So, BE A SAINT… join me in returning your completed “U.P.” financial response cards as soon as possible to help ECUMC plan ministries for God’s kingdom in 2014.  Remember, God  loves you and I do, too!

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