in the past couple weeks, it seems as though all i have done is ask you for money.
or at least i’m sure that’s what it must feel like to some of you.
the church isn’t meeting budget, which may mean staff cuts, so i have asked you to step up and give according to God’s Word. the initial response was good a week and a half ago. but frankly, it’s gonna take more.
and while asking for that, i have also been asking – inviting, really – for 500 shoeboxes to be filled for needy children around the world, at about $10 a pop.
i’ve been asking for christmas presents for about 100 orphans in costa rica at about $20 each.
i’ve asked you to donate turkeys and stuff to hungry families in monroe, again at about $20 each.
all this after a golf tournament just a month or so ago.
i know you must get a little tired of it. i know i get tired of asking… sorta.
but there’s a few other things around this that i wanna make sure you know. and it comes from a very passionate part of my heart.
1. it’s not all about money.
i know there are and will always be people who say that the church “only wants my money.” ok, well, like with every business on earth, there are sheisters leading churches. but i’m not one of them. it’s so NOT all about the money! in fact, since day one of Threshold, i have insisted on offering bowls in the back of the worship space rather than taking up an offering during the service, mostly to make this point. money pays for ministry, that’s just the way it is. but church – OUR church – is about so much more than that.
2. giving is good.
this is not a ploy, not an end-run around point number one. it’s a theological truth. as i mentioned in my last sunday talk, Jesus talks about money and material possessions a bunch. the whole of God’s word, both old and new testaments, emphasizes giving… and it does so because it is GOOD. good for those who receive and good for US! it is the number one way we learn to trust God with our whole lives because it is the number one thing most difficult to trust him with. “you must set aside a tenth… bring this tithe to the designated place of worship… doing this will teach you always to fear the Lord your God.” (deut. 14.22-23). we are called – no, commanded – to give, because it is good, and good for us. it builds our relationship with God and teaches us to trust and glorify him – which is why he gives us breath in the first place.
3. we are on a mission together.
believe me when i tell you that every nickel you give to or through Threshold is used to impact lives for the gospel of Jesus Christ. we feed the homeless, and do bible school in costa rica, and repair homes in kentucky, and fill shoeboxes, and buy turkeys, and care for orphans… for one reason: to be the church that Jesus had in mind! your giving may not always be for needy families or orphan children. your giving may just pay the rent. or buy paper for printed materials. or, frankly, put food on my table. but whether it is for a very visible and heartwarming effort like operation christmas child, or to make sure our staff is cared for, or to cover basic stuff that keeps our doors open, the mission is the same: to be the church that Jesus had in mind. i assure you, all giving is used with integrity and thought.
4. we are fortunate.
many of us are living through the hardest economic times we have ever seen. most of us in fact. and even in the midst of this, we must admit how blessed we are to live where we live and have what we have. there are so many people out there who have so little. giving to make the lives of others better is still a gift and a privilege for which we all ought to be continuously thankful.
5. it’s about so much more…
listen guys, threshold is not all about the money. it’s first and foremost about God’s eternal glory. but it’s also about you. here is where the passion of my heart comes out: this church is about seeing you become everything God is calling you to be. giving and blessing and serving is all a part of that. but ultimately, what i wish for – what i long for – for each of you, is that you would know the certainty of God’s constant sovereign presence in your life each moment. i long for you to know Jesus Christ as your very own savior, that you would give him not only your heart for salvation but your entire self for everything in your life. i long for you to hear from God about the things in life that matter most dearly to you – your family, your vocation, your health. i long for you to have healthy, happy families! i long for you to have a career that fulfills you and honors the Lord! i long for you to have Joy! i pray for these things for each of you, and hopefully the gifts God has given me with which i serve you can and will lead to the fulfillment of my longings. i long to shepherd you into the life you really want – a life with God.
i’m really not just a guy with my hand out…