Responding To The Theft
By now most of you have heard that this past Sunday morning’s offering was stolen from our locked finance office sometime during the service. Although we maintain a good security process, it was not good enough to prevent this theft. We have taken immediate action to ensure this does not happen again. We are also working with the police but do not anticipate recovering the stolen offering. We have always tried to maintain the highest level of trust through our administration and stewardship of the offerings, and through confidentiality. We deeply regret this breach. If you did not receive the e-mail from Pastor Rick this past Monday describing the incident in more detail, you may contact the church office and we will gladly forward that e-mail to you.
My dismay over this incident is not only for Wellspring the church, but for you the Wellspring family. It was your tithes and offerings that were stolen. Instead of being used for kingdom purposes, it has become someone’s ill-gotten gain. A large majority of the offering is given through checks, which minimizes the theft as they should not be able to be cashed, but the violation remains the same. So, in addition to working with the police and improving our procedures, how do we respond?
As we gathered for our weekly staff prayer yesterday, our conversation and subsequent prayer took a decidedly hope-filled turn. The shock and offense of the theft was overshadowed by a significant volume of encouraging words, scriptures, and even dreams that the staff and others have experienced the last few days. “I am going to do something amazing today”, “I got this”, “Let me be God”. These were all encouraging words from the Lord that different ones of us heard Sunday morning prior to the worship service and the incident. Some of you have also shared encouraging dreams and scriptures that the Lord has given you. Others have been encouraged in their spirit to rise up against this violation with a declaration that God is our provider. We also remember to pray for the individual and release them to the Lord’s mercy.
The timing of this incident also causes us to recognize that we are encountering a spiritual battle, and therefore anticipate the Lord’s breakthrough for finances throughout the Wellspring community. In the previous month I have taught on generosity and tithing. And I extended the challenge for us as a Body to bring the full tithe into the storehouse of the Lord for the full month of December (Malachi 3:10). I did not do this lightly. Some of you are struggling financially and placing your trust and hope in him. Some of you have taken the invitation of the Lord to “test me in this”. As a church, we are also believing the Lord for a strong finish so that we can end the year in the black.
In the middle of this season of testing the Lord for financial provision and believing his word, our offering to him was stolen right during the worship service. Someone is to blame, but the enemy would love to undermine and even destroy what the Lord is doing. The enemy would love to divide what the Lord is unifying. The enemy would love to stain what the Lord is purifying. The enemy would love to destroy what the Lord is building. We can focus on the violation, or we can declare that God knows all. This offense, perpetrated against God more than it was against us, did not catch God by surprise. He reminds us that the battle belongs to him, and he has this matter well within his ability to set things right. Our hope is not in money. Our hope is in God who is our provider. If we are going to place our hope in God, we must believe that he is greater than the circumstances, even an unforeseen robbery.
We stand together and declare that God is our Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:7). We place our hope in the Lord and place him first in our lives and in our finances. Through this season of testing and trial we continue to believe God for breakthrough. My desire is for God to be glorified and for there to be an open channel of his faithful provision to us. My desire is that we would increase our confidence in the God of hope as he releases his joy and peace over us. My desire is for God’s kingdom to come, to triumph over us individually and as a church, and for his freedom to be our experience and our declaration.
Two banners hang in our sanctuary declaring God’s truths over us. Today, we declare them once again over this incident, over Wellspring and over the entire Wellspring community:
- Overflowing with Hope (Romans 15:13), and
- Now Lord… Increase! (Isaiah 9:7)
May the joy of Christ and the hope of his Gospel fill all of us this Christmas season.
Rich blessings to all,