Summer Faithfulness Is Better Than December Desperation
How to Have a Clear Conscience on Vacation
Sometimes a fourth of our budget is given in December! This makes cash flow in the summer very difficult. This year especially. The reserves we have used for a cushion are being paid out to their designated ministries and SPAN III has borrowed some.
I believe God is calling us to join him in making 1991 a tremendously encouraging year financially as well as every other way. So far we are about 10% ahead of our giving for last year. Nevertheless we are about $45,000 behind our budget through May 26. This shortfall will be manageable if we counter the trend of weak summer giving.
Why is it that in the summer months, when the Lord gives us the most pleasures, we give less of our money for Christ and his kingdom? It doesn’t seem right:
- One answer may be that we spend more money on vacations and have less to give.
- Another may be that we are away from the church building more often on vacation and just forget to make up when we come back what we would have given if we were here. For example, last Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, we gave less than half what is needed each Sunday. Will we make that up?
- Another possible reason for giving less is that we may simply be more worldly-minded in the summer. Perhaps heaven recedes a bit farther away, and the tragedy of sin and the calamity of unbelief and the urgency of the gospel all seem less compelling in the frolic of sun and fun.
Are these good reasons for giving less to the cause of Christ in the summer than during the rest of the year? When Paul gathered funds for the church in Jerusalem, the Macedonians stunned him with their generosity.
In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:2)
Does God have to make us poor and afflict us in order to change our values and make us “overflow in a wealth of liberality”? It almost seems like it. Because Jesus said that many professing Christians
“are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life (summertime?), and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).
It seems that the Christian fruit of radical liberality for Jesus grows best in the harsher climates of affliction than in the summery season of worldly comforts.
But can’t we say no to that trend? Can’t we buck the system of this world? I believe God is calling us to do just that.
Here is a simple plan: before you go on vacation, consecrate the time to the Lord by praying for the church and by writing the checks that you would ordinarily give if you were here. Then give them, in sealed envelopes, to a friend to put in the offering on the appointed Sunday when you are away. This way your account won’t be overdrawn, you won’t have anything to make up when you return, the church will press on in ministry, and you will feel more authentic as you relax.
I promise to do my part. Let’s do it together.
Praying for your planning,
P.S. Any SPAN III giving at the front end of your pledge period would be a great help in restoring some of the church reserve accounts.