Monday Devotional
January 30, 2023
 
Dear Friend,
 

This is the time of year when the end of the year denominational reports are due. These reports are several pages in length, asking for information like average attendance at worship, money given to mission projects, members gained and lost.

There used to be a form that clergy had to fill out about our continuing education. We had to list books read, conferences attended, things like that. I always found it humorous that they provided only 12 lines for books read. Most years, I read about 100 books.

I became cynical about the forms wondering if anyone was really reading them. So, one year, among the books I had read, I included the children’s book, “Moo, Baa, La La La.” In the space where I was supposed to say why this reading was important I wrote, “Sometimes it’s not what you read, but who you read it with.” I turned in the form and waited. No one ever said a word. The next year, I included a fictitious book and author. Again, no comments. I delighted every year in listing something playful, but no one ever said anything. Maybe I wore them down, because the form is no longer requested.

Please don’t think these forms are unimportant. I know that they are. And I am grateful that our Business Administrator, Tammy Fields, fills out and submits accurate responses to these forms each year. These forms provide a snapshot of local congregations. But there are many things beyond simple metrics.

How would we begin to measure whether someone who was at the verge of giving up, found the hope to keep going? How do we measure a faith restored? A worship service can measure how many people were in attendance, but not the impact that the service had upon someone. We can count how many meals were served at Hot Meals, but not the significance of what that kindness means to someone in need. Some very important things are impossible to measure.

That is true of church metrics, but it is also true of our own lives. At the end of the day you might measure the success of the day in many different ways. But leave room for the unseen differences you have made. Some little deed may have been much more important than you realized. Keep sharing kindness, large and small. Keep caring for one another. A little mustard seed looks insignificant, but provides shelter for many birds.

 
Peace,
Howard
 
Upcoming Activities
 

Scout Sunday

On February 5th, we will offer a blessing for the scouting ministries of First UMC. Along with that, the Cub Scouts will be having a pancake breakfast following the 10 a.m. service. The Girl Scouts will be here selling cookies. Join us in supporting these important ministries for youth and families in our community.

Fridays@First

Friday February 10th, First UMC will host the violin students of Laura Andrews. This concert is open to the public and begins at 7:00 p.m.

New Member Class

Are you interested in becoming a member of First UMC? Join us for a conversation on Sunday February 12th after worship. We’ll talk about the ministries of First UMC, a bit about Methodism and provide a general orientation to the church. For more information, please contact Rev. Boles at hboles@fumccolumbus.org.

Love a Child

During the month of February, First UMC holds a special collection for the Learning Tree Preschool scholarship fund. This fund, called Love a Child, provides scholarships to families in need enabling them to attend the preschool. Last year, we raised more than $18,000! With these funds, the preschool was able to award financial support to several families, including families at Turning Point, two refugee families resettling in Columbus and a family experiencing homelessness. This is the primary fundraiser for this important ministry and we appreciate all the support.

Upcoming Events

February 19 Chocolate Sunday

February 19 Book Club, “The Last Blue” by Isla Morley 6:00 p.m.

February 22 Ash Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.