bits from bob....
The Facts Please, Just the Facts!
by Robert J. Young
Note: the numbers and descriptions used in the article below are real, but editors reprinting this article will likely want to change them to reflect current reality in a local church.
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]
"The facts, please, just the facts."
This is not a sermon; this is not a spanking. This is "just the facts." My mother often said, "If the shoe fits, wear it." This is not about shoes, but then she wasn't talking about shoes either!
This is about grace. This is about giving. This echoes the "grace of giving." We are challenged to grow. We pledge; we increase; that is all good, in fact, it is essential. If we have grown individually, we have not apparently grown as a spiritual family. We must be challenged anew; we must know the values of the opportunities before us; we must seize the moment.
Here are the facts:
- 1. What we have done.
We are 14 weeks into a new budget year. Our budget is $3106 weekly. Our giving has averaged $2588 weekly. We are $518 low every week. In just 14 weeks we have axed over $7000 out of the year's budget ($518 x 14 = $7252). The deficit is 17%.
- 2. What we might do (part 1).
We might continue at the present rate, and by the end of the budget year we will have axed almost $27,000 from the budget ($518 x 52 = $26,936). We will barely be able to "keep house" at that level. We will do less than the previous year. We will struggle to keep our heads above water. We will not do much of what we had dreamed, hoped, aspired, prayed.
- 3. What we might do (part 2).
We might pray diligently and resume the pattern of growth. We are growing numerically. We are larger. We have more families; more members; more people. We are prospering. We purchase numerous items from the material world about us. We seldom do without very much of cars, appliances, clothing, travel, keeping up with the Joneses. We might quit trying to keep up with the Joneses since they went bankrupt last week!
If $2588 is all we can do...if God has withdrawn our prosperity in comparison to last year so that we found decreased generosity essential...if we are just getting by...if, if, if: far be it from me to suggest you do more than you can do (but read 2 Cor. 8:1-7). If we are doing all we can do, fine. Now read on.
- 4. What we should do.
We should do all we can do. Am I? Are you? Are we? God knows. This is the bottom line. This is rubber meeting road. This is the proof of our love and the measure of our life. This is our kids learning and developing priorities. They know. God knows. You know.
If the shoe fits, wear it. The facts, please, just the facts.
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Last updated November 28, 2001.