It’s the end of the year, so why not talk about the thing that NO ONE enjoys talking about. Churches and Money! I love that part in Jerry Maguire when he’s so desperate – he gives into unabashedly yelling “Show Me The Money!!!”
There is often a considerable amount of TENSION that exists when it comes to this subject. Some feel it because they don’t understand WHY the church wants their money. Some feel it because they religiously give to their local church and struggle with those “free-loaders” who are enjoying the benefits that their local church offers, but are refusing to invest in it. Some just struggle personally with how much to give (before tax, after tax, what percentage, what fixed amount), and some simply struggle with HOW many churches try to manipulate people into giving more (and more, and more).
I understand this tension from a different perspective. I’m a pastor. I literally see people’s entire body clench up when I bring up the topic of money. It’s actually quite a sight to see.
I lead an amazing church. I manage a large budget that is 100% dependent on God using the obedience and generosity of folks within the church to fund that budget (staff, ministry, missions, etc). It’s a challenge. I LOVE talking about the blessing of stewardship… when the church is doing fine. I really struggle to talk about giving when the church is behind in it’s budget.
So the tension is real, no matter who you are in a church.
So let’s talk about it.
It’s impossible to solve problem when we don’t know what is wrong to begin with. It’s impossible to experience freedom, if you don’t know where you are stuck. We usually have a theory about what the problem may be in our lives and many of us have been working on “us” for a long time. We spend money working on us, time in therapy, new toys, gyms, diet plans, vacations, and we think that if we just make better decisions or better choices – we can experience a different outcome in our lives. However, this doesn’t seem to be working that well. Self-Help publication is still on the rise and folks around every turn promise happiness is just a small tweak away – but the problems usually remain.
OUTCOMES (we all desire Freedom, but cannot seem to achieve it in every area of our lives)
I want to suggest a radical idea!!! READY… The problem may be, that we don’t know what the problem may be.
Do we ever consider that risk = freedom? That living a life at the edge of the unknown might not be the the most free we could ever feel in our lives.
I had the opportunity to speak at my church this past weekend about regret and I used a statement I had written several years ago about the definition of the Kingdom’s Path.
“Follow God with abandon at every age – with an eager expectation that God can use our lives for His purposes in the world. Risk always: Never Completely Settle: Be Different, Be HIS, and Die Gloriously”
I didn’t spend much time the idea of risk this week because the sermon was on regret, but I couldn’t shake the idea of risk and freedom from my mind.