Running a business, or a ministry, is becoming more complex than ever these days. It’s not that there is necessarily more to do than in years past, but with increased security and the advances in technology, more and more ends up being done online. That includes payments to the federal and state governments, payroll information, payments to vendors, invoices to customers and let’s not forget about email! Even donation receipts and letters pass through cyberspace.
Since I find myself working fewer hours than I used to, and I am starting to scale back, I no longer have administrative assistants to help with making sure that everything stays current. To be sure, I enjoy doing the bank reconciliations and many of the other things that have to be done to make sure everything runs the way it should, so I really haven’t considered this much of a hardship.
Of course, we still have Al, our accountant, who has been with me since the day we incorporated back in 1983 and he makes life much easier for me with some of the more difficult stuff that I just don’t know how to do. And I have learned throughout the years that I don’t like to leave stuff hanging, so Al knows what I can handle and what falls on him to complete.
To make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, I always make sure that licenses get applied for, taxes get paid, applications get filed and surveys get completed as soon as I receive them. I know that most folks aren’t like this, but I rest easier knowing that I don’t have a bunch of stuff hanging over my head all the time.
Yesterday afternoon, I received a notice from the State of Indiana informing me that I had a report due by November 1st. It’s called a Business Entity Report and must be filed every year or two with the State. It requires information such as a listing of officers of the company, who owns the business, our current address, who the directors are, the resident agent and a host of of information that rarely changes year to year.
Yet each year, all this verification is requested to make sure that we are fully compliant so that the State of Indiana will allow us to continue in operation. In the 16 years that our ministry, Chaplains at Work, has been in existence, we have never been late with any of our filed reports, etc. And that is particularly important since we hold a non-profit status for our ministry work. Coincidentally, the same holds true for our corporate business – in 35 years, we have never missed a filing deadline.
You would think that it would get easier each time but that isn’t the case. Logins and additional layers of security make things more difficult each time we have to file. Last evening, I completed the Business Entity Report online and got out the credit card to pay the registration fee for another two years. Thankfully, the report filing and financial transaction was successful.
It occurred to me that not everything is this complicated. In fact, the most important thing we can do, surrendering to God, is one of the easiest things to do. Once we accept Christ, there aren’t any additional things we have to do. Nobody questions us each year about whether we still have faith and believe; and there aren’t any hoops we have to jump through to re-register or pay an annual fee. In Christianity, that price was paid by Jesus on the cross.
Our verse for tonight is from the Old Testament. The Psalmist tells us in plain language that God made us and we belong to Him. Period. No reports to file and no more questions. We are told, in Psalm 100:3, “Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants the responsibility of taking care of us for eternity. Even in the Old Testament, God led the people of Israel across the desert and into the Promised Land, all the while affirming that He was their God and they were His chosen people. We have a similar promise from God in the New Testament that we belong to Him. All that is required is a profession of faith and an acceptance of the free gift of eternal life.
My prayer is that we all keep it simple. There aren’t any massive tests we have to take, or logins with passwords. We belong to God and that’s all there is to it. If you aren’t a member of God’s family, I encourage you to consider accepting His offer. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…