by Anthony L. Jordan
I am a person of words. Everything I do centers around words. Preaching, teaching, meetings and writing are a regular part of my life. I like words, but it is not easy finding fresh ways to say the same things. I love to read books that cause me to constantly turn to my dictionary to discover the meaning of words.
At the same time I have worked hard to find simple ways to express complex thoughts. When I preach, I want to lay out the powerful truths of God in such a way that the young Christian can understand them. In fact, I think nothing is more challenging than taking theological truth and making it plain.
One thing I have found extremely difficult is saying thank you in a fresh way. I have found few words or ways to express gratitude in a refreshingly different manner. Yet nothing is more significant than expressing gratitude. When reading Scripture, you find thanksgiving as natural as breathing in and out for biblical writers. Paul makes clear that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we regularly express thanks.
So if you will forgive my lack of creativity, I would ask that you accept my humble words of thanks to you, Oklahoma Baptists, for your generosity. Even in the midst of economic downturn you have been faithful and generous. Let me give you some examples.
For the first time in two years, the Cooperative Program in Oklahoma is ahead of the previous year and ahead of budget. Over the last two years, we have made dramatic cuts in convention staff and ministries to weather the difficult days. Our experience at the convention has mirrored the same hard decision making at home and in the local church. Yet if it had not been for the generous giving of our people and churches, the cuts would have been deeper, and ministries would have suffered greatly.
Thank you, Oklahoma Baptists, for your continued support of missions through the Cooperative Program.
During these same two years, our state, nation and world have faced some devastating natural disasters. Oklahoma Baptists are continually at the forefront in offering help and support during times of disaster. We have one of the largest trained Disaster Relief teams among state conventions. Because of your generosity, these teams have been able to minister love and help in the name of Jesus.
With the many recent disasters, our resources were being greatly strained. I asked Oklahoma Baptists to take a special offering to restore the coffers so we can meet the demands to assist and serve those in need. You responded by giving an additional $164,167. This will allow us to continue to serve and help. Hurricane season is on the horizon, and we will be ready to assist.
So I want to humbly and simply say “Thank you” for giving. Your generosity will translate into souls being saved, people in need being helped and the Word of the Gospel being sent to the ends of the Earth.
Thanks may not be a new word and it is not a complicated word demanding you go to your dictionary for a definition, but I would contend it is a powerful word. Please accept my appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving for you.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.