Fifty-seven dollars. That’s how much a seat costs at my church. Before you start questioning the theology of my church and wondering whether we sell tickets like church is a sporting event, $57 is the cost of the new chairs that we just purchased. Our pastor has been encouraging us to “buy our chair” – to help donate in order to defray some of the expense. It’s a good idea and probably one that has a lot of merit. (However, as a side note, my dad thinks it really should be $28.50 since they use the chairs for two services. I think the congregation should wait until we go to three services – that’s when it will be a really good investment). J
Now, talking about money at church is always a tough subject, and I happen to believe our pastor handles it better than most. But even with his dexterity, I had a hard time with the request for $57. Not because I don’t believe that the church shouldn’t be self-supported – I do. But it seemed like such a tragedy that the request was even made
I live in Orange County, CA – a place where the magnitude of material wealth is staggering. I don’t know the statistics, but I would guess that if Orange County would fall off into the ocean, we’d still have a larger economy than a lot of developed nations. And the church I go to is filled with people who are benefactors of this wealth. They have been blessed materially in ways that many can’t imagine. I would guess that many of them probably spend more than $57 on their Saturday night meal – so donating it to the church for the chair shouldn’t be a problem. And yet, it often is.
I think the root of the problem lays in the fact that we think of the money we have as ours instead of God’s. Somehow, we feel like we are doing Him a favor when we give it away – even to His church. We like to think it’s our decision how we spend it – and if we choose to spend it on His work – well, then kudos for us.
But not really. Because the fact that we give anything to God isn’t what’s significant. The truly amazing part is that God even gives us the opportunity to participate in His work. He could have chosen otherwise. He could have chosen to accomplish His purposes here on Earth through His own volition. But instead, He allows us to join with Him – if we want to.
How often do we choose otherwise so that we can spend our resources on something else?