What Is Success on Commitment Sunday?

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

What this Sunday might mean:

  • The 9 year challenge would take $1.4 million in pledges.
  • The 6 year challenge would take $2.1 million in pledges.
  • The Radical Dream would take $3.7 million in pledges.

Doug Anderson has warned the Steering Committee repeatedly not to give the congregation the impression that if we pledge $1.4 million this Sunday it is a failure. He’s right. Success and failure are often hidden to the eyes of man.

The widow who gave her “two copper coins” would not have been judged a “success” by the pledge-takers. But in the all-seeing eyes of Jesus she was the biggest success of all.

So it will be this Sunday. “Success” will be a hidden thing. God will see it. Not the pledge counters. Even if we miraculously pledge enough money to build the sanctuary in three years, it is not a guarantee that we all succeeded. Why? Because only God can see the heart. Only God knows if the big amount was pride or praise. Only God knows if the little amount was sacrificial or selfish.

Only God knows if it would be best for our holiness and humility to wait six years for a new sanctuary. We all have our convictions. We try to base them on biblical teachings and sanctified common-sense. But God has surprised us more than once with his “uncommon sense.” The potter knows better than the pot.

What then should we do? We should be as radical as we can in pursuit of our best biblical judgment, and leave the outcome to God.

Just think what it would mean if the project could be done in three years! Think of the possibilities if the discipline of giving learned in those years would continue for other ministries and missions. Think of how we use our present buildings, and that it cost a previous generation over $2 million 1988-dollars to put up the current educational unit. Think of worshiping all together, and having hundreds of visitors in search of a God who can make a difference in their embattled lives.

And think of the sense of victory and joy that would come from a radical, sacrificial pledge to this effort.

I think 50 families could give a million dollars ($20,000 each over 3 years). Another 100 givers could give another million ($10,000 each over three years). And 300 could give $1.5 million ($5,000 each over three years).

It can be done, if God brings a radical mind-set upon us. This is what I long to see. But God is God. I will accept his appointment. Remember: “God is able to provide!!!” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Stretching with you,

Pastor John