Our congregation has been dealing with deferred maintenance on the building lately. No sooner had we finished replacing an ailing roof than we got the word from the company that serviced our furnace that its days were numbers. Sure enough, less than a year later, the furnace, which had outlived its normal lifespan by decades, blew off the fire door and then died altogether. We were too busy arranging to have the furnace replaced to even ask the "why us, why this, why now?" questions.
Less than a month later, we have installed a more efficient propane heater. We will be saving energy, money, and the environment with this cleaner-burning system. Of course, the furnace did have a cost: $8,000, to be exact. We hadn't quite finished paying off the roof, and then the new furnace doubled our debt. But before we spent too much time wondering "How are we going to pay for this?" donations from friends of the church began pouring in. A woman who had temporarily come into a large amount of liquid cash sent us a large donation. Another friend of the church heard about our plight through the grapevine and also sent a donation. We are not in the clear yet, but this new furnace isn't just warming bodies, it is also warming hearts.