|Maybe you have heard this one. Two men crashed their private plane on a tiny island in the South Pacific. One of the men brushed himself off and went to check out the surrounding area. He came back and screamed to his companion, “We’re doomed! This island is completely uninhabited. There is no food here. There’s no water. We are going to die!” |
But the other man said, “No we’re not. I make over $250,000 a week.” The first man shrieked, “What good is your money on an uninhabited island?” The other man was unruffled. “Doesn’t matter,” he said. “We aren’t going to die because I make over $250,000 a week.”
The first man shouted, “Look, for the last time, I’m telling you we are doomed.” But the other man smiled and said, “You don’t understand. I make over $250,000 per week, and I’m a member of the Congregational Church in my town, and I give a tithe of my income to the church. MY PASTOR WILL FIND ME!”
Every pastor I know secretly wishes he or she had a parishioner like that. The truth is, however, that financial reliance on one person, or one family, or even one group of parishioners is dangerous for a church. What happens if that revenue stream disappears for some reason? What happens if the pastor and the congregation engage in
|ministries they feel God is calling them to pursue but the benefactor does not like? |
But most significant of all is the damage it does to the congregation’s sense of the privilege and responsibility of stewardship. If someone else is footing the bill — perhaps without even breaking a financial sweat — then no one is ever challenged to reassess their priorities and face Jesus’ sobering indictment, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). No one has the chance to experience the freedom and the joy of sacrificial giving. Nor does anyone develop a sense of collective responsibility from being in a community of faith.
As long as it is someone else’s task to keep the church’s head above water, it is nobody’s task. I can always find reasons why I cannot give more this year, but in the end, they are merely excuses. The task belongs to us all, and our beloved FCC does not give any of us the luxury of sitting out the dance.
It is easy to say I believe in a God of abundance. It is easy to say I believe God will take care of my needs. But belief is not real until I put it into practice. Like a friend said, “My Dad always told me you can tell what a man truly believes by looking at his calendar and his checkbook.”
Sunday, November 14, is commitment Sunday when we will ask you to turn in an estimate of giving for the year. If you are lost on an island in the South Pacific after that date, I WILL come looking for you.