In case you missed it, here is the parable from Sunday—told Lego-style.
But of significant importance is actually trying to figure out how we can use what we have (which is actually not ours to begin with) to make eternal impact.
What’s interesting in all of this is that many folks think very deliberately about their money and possessions; they just think about it for them. They understand that investing X% of their income at X% interest over X years leads to a certain yield. People diligently look at their money, their mortgage, and any other asset and have worked all the angles. They have financial managers that help them to consider the best possible use of their income to reach their financial goals.
What if we spent that same amount of time thinking about using our assets to meet Christ’s goals of reaching the lost and maturing the saints? Three suggestions (and the numbers to go along with it)–
- Take one meal at home a month and have it with people who don’t know Christ–This kills two birds with one stone. You get fed and you use your house. And don’t skimp on the food, either. Have great food and spend time getting to know someone. I’ll write more on hospitality, as it is a lost art, but start small. This would total 12 meals a year. About 1% of your yearly meals–and your return is eternal.
- Skip a meal and fast for the lost, then reinvest what you save–Take one meal a month and fast. You can do this as a family or as an individual. And when you fast, pray specifically (by name) for people you know who do not know Jesus. When you’re done–take the money (or food) you saved from that fast and take that person–the one you prayed for–to lunch or (like above) have them for dinner–you cover the cost. Again, if you do this monthly, then 1% of your year goes toward the fast, and another 1% toward the meal with that person you fasted for. Two percent total if done 24 times (12 fasts and 12 meals). You could do the same thing for the gospel in the nations. Fast for a country or unreached people, then take what you save and find a way you can contribute to the gospel advancing in that country or amongst that people.
- Reconsider your giving–This one might be a hair more of a struggle for some, but consider your giving and reapportion it. I do not think that 100% of your giving (be that 10% of your income, 5%, 2%, or 50%) needs to go to your local church. I do think that the majority of it does, but not all of it. So let’s say you make $200 a week and tithe on that ($20 a week). However, your distribution is $16 to your church, $2 to support a missionary, and you save $2 to consider how you can specifically and intentionally reach those who don’t know Jesus or help someone grow up in Jesus. Two dollars a week doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up fast. What if five families in your community group did that? Now that’s $10 a week–$520 a year that your group has to consider who you can bless–enough for many car repairs. What if your church has 30 community groups–that’s $15,600 free to expand the name of Christ. Did you know that that amount is more than the yearly budget of my friend’s church in Santa Cruz, Bolivia? By setting aside 1% of $200 a week, you could help fund the ministry of an entire church.
Now, there is a cost to this. You have to be committed to eternal riches and not temporal ones–that alone is enough to convince some people not to do it. You have to trust that when Jesus says “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” he meant it. You have to be satisfied with less. You have to store up treasures in heaven.
The reward? Your eternal joy.