- Photo by Dustin Maust
Faced with America's economic realities, I've begun to wonder how far I can stretch a dollar.
Food prices are up.
Gasoline prices are up.
Taxes are up.
Energy bills are higher than ever.
Utility bills are increasing.
Despite rising costs, many of us are living on last year's income. (Even here at GCC, I've frozen all the salaries of our entire staff for the last 18 months. And the Ad Council has frozen my salary too.) Almost all of us are in the same boat.
We're trying to stretch our money. We're looking for ways to reduce "unnecessary" expenses so our dollars can go farther. We're all trying to "get more bang for the buck."
Personally, the state of "my" economy is driving me into a ruthless analysis of my deepest priorities.
I'm focused on this question: "What is most important to me?"
The answer to that question determines what I'm going to do with my money. I'm betting your answer to that question is a predictor of your behavior as well. We all support what we value. Given the reality of our free will, we all do what we want to do. We spend our money on what we want.
It's still a free America.
We get to choose. Here are my choices, listed in order of importance to me.
1. Tithe to my local church. I'm going to put God first - no matter what. I want the church to be stronger than ever as our economic and geopolitical climate gets scarier than ever. God first. I'm not going to rob God. Period. Whatever else we lose, we can't afford to lose God's help.
2. Save. With economic down-turns comes a renewed commitment to spend less than I make. In tough times smart people obey God and face the facts. God tells us, "Look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.(Proverbs 6:6-8 )" I'm determined to pay attention to my personal storehouse.
3. Honor my wife. I want my money to bless her. I want her local church to be strong. I want her to have food and shelter and "daily bread." The bible says God wants that for her too. I'm standing with God on this one.
4. Bless my children. I want to live with honor. I'm resolved to never disgrace my children or bring shame on them. If I handle my money correctly I'll be one step closer to offering them a legacy of faith and dignity.
5. Bless GCC. As GCC has restricted her budget and tightened her belt (reducing her budget three times in the last few months) Sheila and I are determined to give - above and beyond our tithe - whenever and however we can. We want to make the church stronger in a season when America needs the church strong!
I'm inviting you to ask yourself the question I'm asking myself: "What is most important to me?"
If Jesus Christ, and the work of His Church, are on your "most important" list, I trust you will join us in making your financial support of the church a budgetary priority in the days ahead.
As we shift gears (watch "Beeson on Changes" to see what I mean) your determined financial support will resource our next steps toward Christ...together.
If you're so inclined, I'd love to see your "Top 5 Answers" to the question: "What is most important to me?"
Leave a comment. Let me know...
Matthew 13:44-46 - "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it."