By Susan Ervien | GuideStone Financial Resources
DALLAS (BP) – In the Old Testament, we find these words: “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned.” Psalm 37:25a (CSB)
On June 26, we have the opportunity to return a blessing to righteous, unsung heroes of the faith. Namely, retired Southern Baptist pastors, workers and their widows who served and abundantly blessed those in their care during their years of ministry.
Jeanetta Watson served with her husband, Wendell, for 45 years. Wendell, a bivocational pastor, always served small churches that could not pay well. Though the Watsons weren’t able to save much in the way of retirement, the Lord always provided for their daily needs.
Wendell’s health worsened after the Watsons retired from the ministry. Finances became tight as Jeanetta tried to keep up with car, home and supplemental insurance payments, which added up. Jeanetta would not even go to the doctor or dentist because that was another expense she couldn’t pay.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do, but then I got a call saying that I’d been accepted by Mission:Dignity,” Janetta says. “It was such a burden lifted off my shoulders. There are no words to explain what this ministry has meant to me.
“I pray that all of you realize what this means to know our years of service have not been forgotten.”
Stories like Jeanetta’s highlight the importance of Mission:Dignity.
“Mission:Dignity is the very heart of GuideStone, and has been since our inception in 1918,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “We have a heart to help pastors and other servants of the Lord finish well. Through Mission:Dignity, we offer financial assistance to retirement-aged Southern Baptist ministers, workers and widows struggling to meet basic needs.”
The Southern Baptist Convention has set aside the fourth Sunday in June for churches to celebrate and raise a special offering for Mission:Dignity. Churches, Sunday school classes and other groups can order free Mission:Dignity Sunday materials from GuideStone by visiting texting MDORDER to 41444 or visiting the GuideStone booth at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, Calif. The materials are not dated, so churches can use them any time of the year they wish.
“It is a tremendous blessing for us to come alongside thousands of churches to celebrate what God is doing through Mission:Dignity,” said Aaron Meraz, director of Mission:Dignity. “With 100 percent of donations given through Mission:Dignity going to help a retired Southern Baptist minister and wife or his widow, our churches can be assured that these dear ‘soldiers of the cross’ are not forgotten.”