My name is Damon Corn, and as always, I count it both an honor and a privilege to be before you today.
This morning I’m gonna talk about Stewardship, and over the course of the week as I thought about what I wanted to say related to this sometimes delicate subject, I decided rather than going to the Bible and digging poor ol’ half- hearted Ananias and Sapphira back up out of the grave, or even seek to inspire you today with the New Testament account of the courage and faith of one iconic old widow woman who was down to her last two pennies by the time the offering plate came around, [I would spare you that].
Instead, I figure I’ll just keep it real simple this morning and talk about Dividends’, especially Dividends as they relate to my own personal journey here at First Baptist Church [of] Decatur, Georgia.
Now in a corporate setting a Dividend is that portion of the profits that the corporation gives back to the shareholders: a return on their investment, if you will.
But here at FBC, we’re a Church, a not-for-profit organization; therefore, the return on our investment comes in the way we impact the lives of the people we encounter. In other words, changed lives.
And I’m fairly certain this morning that way back in the Fall of 1862 when the idea for this place was first hatched, or for the next 10 years after that, that it took for them folks to finally get enough people and resources together to move into their own building, nobody in that early congregation had any notion that they would still be getting a return on their investment 148 years later on that Sunday morning when I walked through the doors of this Church lost, looking for the A.A. meeting downstairs.
But I want you to know it was a member of this Church that day [who] stopped me in the hallway and asked me if I needed help, and it was her kind demeanor and absolute graciousness that prompted me to want to come back a few Sundays later for an official visit.
And on that Sunday that I came back after the Fresh Start service, again, it was a member of this Church that day [who] pointed me down the hall to the Seeking the Kingdom Bible study where I would encounter Liz and experience the first spark of a relationship that has lasted almost seven years from that day to this one.
And it was a member of this Church way last year that encouraged me (ME) to apply over at McAfee Seminary.
Now let me tell you something you might not know: When somebody – anybody – puts an application in over there at that “Fancy School Of Theology,” the very first thing they do is run a thorough background check on that individual.
And when they pulled my background up on that computer screen and hit print and those 13 pages of my Criminal History come rolling out, it was that same member of this Church, our former [interim] Pastor, the Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics, [who] they called to the front office. And they looked him right square in the eye and said, “Dr. Gushee, no matter what’s in this background [check], are you willing to stand in the gap for Damon Corn?” And he looked right back at ‘em and said, ”yes.”
Dividends. Big Time
I start my second class over there on the 20th of [August].
And this past November clear out of the blue it was a member of this church [who] nominated me (ME) to be a Deacon. And then it was all of you, the members of this Church, [who] voted me into that office. And on that day I knew what the Apostle Paul, a man who called himself the “Chief of Sinners,” must of felt like when God got a holt of him on the Damascus road. He couldn’t believe it, but it was real. And it’s been real for me here at this Church for a long time now.
Dividends. The kind that only God and his people can bring about.
In closing, I just want y’all to know that I’m only one example of a life that’s been changed for the better here at FBC. It happens every day all over this campus, and while you might not always hear about [it] the way you did this morning, I promise you it’s happening, and the reason it’s happening is because all of you, the people of God, the members of this Church, [who] are willing to give of your time and your energy and yes, your money, to make it happen.
So keep coming back, keep doing it, keep giving. Cause it’s working. It’s really working
May God Bless you. Amen!
– Damon Corn
The above is a part of a 10-week series spotlighting the effects stewardship has in our congregation at FBCD. We love these stories of transformation and life-change! If you're interested in exploring financial stewardship at FBC Decatur, click here.