Life Finds A Way
When Greg Thomas received a stage 4 cancer diagnosis, doctors told his family that it was best to start planning his funeral. Once cancer reaches this stage, there’s rarely a good prognosis. Instead of wallowing in self pity or simply giving up, though, Greg decided to do something with the time he had left. By the end of his life, he had managed to save a church.
Being successful at saving a church, however, isn’t the real story here. After all, a rich benefactor could do this by simply leaving a legacy gift in their will. Even the process of how he brought a church back from ruin isn’t the biggest part of this story. What stands out the most is the seemingly miraculous events that made his actions possible.
A Deadly Diagnosis, A Church Saved
Many people finished out the first decade of the new millennium with a sense of success. Unfortunately, Greg Thomas ended it with a cancer diagnosis. The disease was in both his neck and head, and as it had progressed to stage 4, the 57-year-old Army veteran seemed to be at the end of his journey. Things got even worse when he was let go from his job.
With the free time he had on his hands, Greg started taking long walks in the rural countryside. During one such walk, he found a dilapidated church with peeling paint and a crumbling foundation. The church went up in 1868, but more than 100 years passed since it had a congregation. Even so, Greg prayed on the steps in front of the locked door almost daily.
Then one day, he had an idea. He reached out to the folks who oversaw the property and offered to fix it up. Even though his energy was depleted from chemotherapy, radiation and using a feeding tube for three years at that point, he worked tirelessly to make the church whole again. While his diagnosis seemed likely to cut his task short, someone thought he needed more time.
Cancer Gone Into Remission at Church
Thanks to money from online donation pages and spreading news of Greg’s mission, he was able to do an impressive amount of work on the church. This might sound impossible for someone so close to death’s door, but that’s when the miracle decided to show up. Thomas started feeling better by the day, and in the middle of renovations, his cancer went into remission.
When Greg began his journey, he only asked that the overseers of the property pay for materials and give him a key. By the end, generous donations were carrying everything forward. In fact, things went so well with the repairs that the owner of the property asked him to stop. The trustee said “If we completely fix this up, then we’re going to end up having to insure it.”
This was a tough pill to swallow for Greg and many in the community. It’s one thing for motivational Bible verses to provide an inspiration, but it’s quite another to see a church saved before your very eyes. Unfortunately, Greg’s work had come to an end. However, it seems a miracle gave him many more years of life in return for his generous gift.
Sadly, it seems the end of his work meant it was time to go home.
A Life Well Lived
Matthew 10:39 says, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” A person as focused on reviving a small church no doubt knew and understood this verse. A time comes for everyone to pass on to their next journey, and it was in July 2017 that Greg got called home. This happened just about a year after his work on the church was completed.
It’s not every day that a person has an opportunity to save a church. When that chance presented itself to Greg, though, he rose to the moment. After doing so, he was granted more than seven additional years of life. That’s pretty impressive for someone who doctors told to start planning his funeral over half a decade earlier.
Greg’s giving spirit may be exactly what granted him the gift of more years on this earth. If this reward wasn’t enough, there’s also a beautiful church standing in Minnesota that will eternally bring his memory to mind — along with a granite marker that will forever memorialize his contributions. If this isn’t a life well lived, it’s hard to imagine what could be.
How DonorWerx Can Help
When Greg Thomas set out to restore a church, he had no way of knowing that his cancer would go into remission. He continued his hard work for years after that, and this goes to show how much a single person can accomplish with generosity. It typically takes more than one committed individual, however, to ensure the success of a ministry.
This is a message your congregation needs to understand. It takes effort from everyone to move the church forward. Fortunately, none of this effort is in vain. The Lord rewards those who are generous in his name. For most ministries, the biggest problem is communicating this to their congregants. This is exactly what DonorWerx can help you accomplish.
Click here to get started today, and learn just how much DonorWerx can do for your church.