A quick google search of the phrase, “unity in the midst of diversity” produced 51,000,000 results in 0.61 seconds. That is quite a response and indicative of maybe one of the greatest issues of our day…We as a nation continue to struggle with perfecting our nation’s motto, “e pluribus unum,” out of many – one. Not only has technology brought us closer together than ever, but the physical distance between nationalities, ethnicities and lifestyles has increased as we live next door to one another. This is a marvelous work the Lord is doing among us!
Case in point, I traveled effortlessly from one sovereign nation into another this summer among European Union countries. I rode past former border control buildings which have found new life as shopping malls. The irony of iron curtain bastions of separation now declaring a clearance sale on all hiking equipment was not lost on me.
I was also surprised at exactly how far off my perception of what constituted a nationality. I saw the citizens of Switzerland, who did not look like the Swiss Miss on my cocoa box, and discovered not all Austrians look like the Von Trapp family. I guess I was used to the beautiful diversity we experience in the United States, but I did realize the boundaries set in Acts 17 have been seemingly reset around the world.
As I have traveled around this beautiful state, I have become reacquainted with the ironies within our own denomination. One Sunday I am in one of our major world-class cities, the next week driving down a gravel road. In both instances I greet people who are in love with Jesus and each other, trying to make a difference in the world they know. How much we have in common outside of the bond of Christ might be debatable sometimes, but what is not up for debate is the need we all have for partners in the Gospel who can help us reach our community.
It is with that realization I remember the genius of Cooperative work in Baptist life. Yes, we may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and dispositions on a lot of issues, but fundamentally we are brothers and sisters in Christ striving for the same goals of making much of Jesus and loving our neighbor as our self.
Our support of one another is more critical than ever, which is why I love serving you through the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Through our variety of resources, I truly believe we are able to help every one of our churches with their financial resources. Whether a church loan of five thousand dollars or one of two million dollars, we at the MBF have the means to help each church accomplish their God-given ministry dreams. Whether it is managing a ten thousand dollar savings account for a church striving to send a few extra kids to camp, or a seven or eight figure endowment, we take the same care and concern treating every ministry dollar with equal value.
This level of care and concern is especially true when we serve individuals. We take it as a sacred joy to discuss your personal desire to be generous with your own financial resources. We love helping individual Missouri Baptists make a plan in order to give more to the ministries they love and support. Whether helping by strategic giving that can help both donor and ministry today, or making an estate plan that provides for ministry for decades to come. Either way, it is a big part of what we do, helping people carry out what God has laid on their heart.
The challenge of “unity in the midst of diversity” is great, but the rewards are even more bountiful if we are able to recognize the opportunities available to us in the middle of the challenge. We are not all the same, nor should we be, but we as Missouri Baptists serve the same Savior, and together we can do more than we can alone.
Neil Franks serves as the President of the Missouri Baptist Foundation. He or one of the MBF team members are available to come to your church or home, without cost or obligation, to discuss how you can make your money count for ministry.