It’s the time of year when most folks are thinking about their personal and family budgets. It’s a time when many of us turn an eye toward the church budget, too.
In tough economic times, whether personal or global, we tend to cut back on those things which we deem not to be ‘essential’. If only it were that simple! Each of us has a different idea of what constitutes ‘essential’!
For some, good stewardship – taking care of our various resources – means driving less (though isn’t it ironic that as the economy has worsened, the price of fuel has actually fallen?). For others, it means fewer or shorter vacations. For others, it means fewer trips to the mall. For others, it means buying off-price brands at the grocery store. And so on. Many of us, though, find that we have ‘essentials’ that others would deem ‘luxuries’ – and vice-versa.
It’s about priorities, isn’t it? What we truly value shows up in how we spend our resources.
But it’s also about faith.
No, I’m not talking about the kind of faith that demands deficit spending in the name of some greater good that may or may not be accomplished. I’m talking about the kind of faith that says, “Yes” to God when circumstances seem to be dictating, “No”.
In both personal and corporate finances, money follows vision – never the reverse. If we have a clear sense of vision for what God wants us to accomplish – in life or in the mission of the church – we will commit to it with our resources. That is, if I have a clear sense that God wants me to grow in my knowledge of Scripture this year, I’m going to put some money into conferences and study materials. If the church leaders have a sense that God wants the church to reach the unchurched this year, then the church will put resources into outreach opportunities, mission endeavours, and tools that will make the church more culturally relevant.
It’s about investing in eternity. It’s about making a difference for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Luke 12.34, NLT).
I’m working on making that true for me every day; I hope you will do the same. God’s best for your weekend!