By Matt Tullos
Stewardship development specialist, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
Most of us can remember this scenario. Students walk into a classroom, bleary eyed from a late night of doing nothing productive. The teacher enters and the rustling of paper and books ceases. Then, the illprepared students hear those familiar, yet no less fateful instructions: “Please put your books under your desk, get out a sheet of looseleaf paper, and a pen.”
We know what this all means, don’t we? It’s an unscheduled scholastic examination. Better known as a “Pop Quiz.”
I have to admit this. There’s no harm in saying it. It’s been 30 years since I’ve had one and the educational statute of limitations has long since expired. I was a crammer. My nights before the exams were a blend of note cards, memory strategies, speed reading, and excessive amounts of coffee. I rarely thought of pop quizzes until I slipped my books under my desk.
2020 has been a pop quiz for all of us. We’ve had to answer questions like:
• Can we survive a full on shutdown of our economy?
• Are we still the brave country that faces a crisis with unity and perseverance?
• Are we united as a country of various ethnicities?
• Will we advance a new birth of freedom Abraham Lincoln challenged us to create?
• Can our hospitals weather a pandemic?
• And finally: Do we have enough toilet paper to go around?
Setting aside the toilet paper crisis of March 2020, the other questions have been existential, serious and they remain.
As Tennessee Baptists, we were asked another question. This one was an extra credit question. I bet you remember those also.
Do you believe Tennesseans need Jesus?
The test has been graded. I believe we can calculate our score by looking at what you did through a historic year in Golden Offering gifts.
While we are wrapping up the year, we are very close to breaking the record for dollars given. When it came to the subject of generosity, Tennessee Baptists passed with flying colors.
Because your church gave through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, new churches were planted. The poor of Tennessee received food, fellowship and hope in Christ.
People’s lives were rebuilt after the devastating tornadoes of 2020, in the name of Jesus. You helped Tennessee residents of many languages and countries hear and receive the gospel. You were a part of giving hope to thousands during the most difficult year in many years. You helped lonely orphans, weary parents, hopeless addicts, and courageous church planters.
Check out the inspiring things Tennessee Baptists have funded by visiting www.GoldenOffering.org.
As we celebrated New Year’s Day of 2020, we had no idea of the challenges we all faced. There have been many debates around the kitchen tables in our nation, but no one can debate the generosity, courage and passion of Tennessee Baptists.
We don’t know what the next few months will hold, but we do know that any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field. If your church didn’t give through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, I want to invite you to join us this year. Let’s fuel the movement of Jesus in Tennessee. Every dollar makes a difference. Will you pray and give generously so that we can win Tennessee for Jesus?
Here’s a poem to consider.
We can seek to look holy and stay sheltered for good.
And we can argue politics. That’s understood.
We can create holy huddles and self-serving plans.
But that’s not what our Savior commands.
We are called to be daring and make Jesus king.
To live out in the world the words that we sing.
We’re not called to be silent but to see and to tell.
To rescue our state from darkness and hell.
It’s a movement of God. Tennessee will be blessed!
Will we fail in fear or will we pass the test? B&R