ARLINGTON—Buddy Temple found himself in a quandary in October 2001. The retired postal service worker and court bailiff had sold a house a few months earlier and couldn’t figure out where God wanted him to direct part of the proceeds. No matter how many options he explored, he lacked clear direction.
“I was trying to do something with the money that belonged to God,” Temple said. “Every time I sat down to write a check, something stayed my hand. I’ve never had a problem giving to the Lord, but this time, I just couldn’t do it.”
He and his wife, Nora, joined a group of friends on a trip to Glorieta Conference Center in New Mexico to attend a weeklong senior adult event sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources.
The day after their arrival, Temple walked to Glorieta’s prayer garden and spent some quiet time alone near the reflecting pool as the gold leaves of the aspens rustled in the crisp autumn air.
“God, I need to get rid of this money. It’s yours,” he prayed.
That night, in the main conference session, the Temples listened to a presentation about Mission: Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources. It was the first time they heard about the needs of several thousand retired ministers and their widows who had served in small, rural churches and now were struggling to pay for basic expenses.
Immediately, Temple had the peace in his heart he had been seeking.
As they went back to their cabin later in the evening, Nora Temple saw her husband’s countenance had changed. She said to him, “That’s where your money’s going, isn’t it?”
When they arrived home in Texas, he wrote a check to Mission: Dignity. A year later, after reading more stories about the impact his gift was making, he began sending a monthly gift as well and has continued ever since.
“The first check I write is for my church. The second one is Mission: Dignity,” he said.
In 2008, the Temples moved their membership to Woods Chapel Baptist Church, near their home in Arlington. Two years ago, Buddy Temple told his men’s Bible study class about Mission: Dignity.
“I got one of the monthly thank-you letters, and there was a story about an old pastor who only got a $39 retirement check and needed a battery for his car. It really hit me that what goes around comes around. We have 16 men in our class, and all of us could do something. I thought they needed to hear this. They were surprised about the $39 income.”
“Buddy presented it, and we voted on it,” teacher Tom Boddie said. “We are glad to give, and we really get a blessing out of it.”
Each month, the class takes up an offering. It started with $5 each, but some give more. The collections average about $100 a month.
“These men are ready and willing to give. They even have their money out on the tables when it’s our week for Mission: Dignity, and I really don’t even have to say anything,” Temple noted. “I don’t count the money. Somebody counts it and announces the total to the class. Then I deposit it and mail in a check.”
Recently, one of the women’s Bible classes heard what was going on and asked if they could give, too. They bring their money to the men’s class, and it gets added into the monthly collection. The two classes have given more than $3,000.
At last year’s Mission: Dignity Sunday, the Temples told their whole church about the ministry. Their pastor, Eric Armstrong, wholeheartedly supported the church learning about Mission: Dignity.
This year, Mission: Dignity Sunday is June 23 on the Southern Baptist denominational calendar. Free bulletin inserts and a short video are available from GuideStone. Churches and Sunday school classes also can download posters and ads from Mission: Dignity’s website.
The Temples count it a privilege to be in a position where they can give back to servants of God who have ministered through the years.
“This is some kind of organization if 100 percent of our money goes to those in need,” Nora Temple said.
“I feel so close to these people,” her husband added. “It’s like I am sending help to my own mother or to a family member. I can’t take any credit for this, though. It’s all been from God.”
The Temples have a long connection with Mission: Dignity and have encouraged many others to join them in helping people in need. It all goes back to a peaceful afternoon in the mountains of New Mexico when a man got quiet with God and simply asked, “What would you have me do?”