Monday, December 14, 2009

Experiencing Abundance and Scarcity

Why do church people often seem the poorest people in the world? That poverty has little to do with the financial resources available for ministry.

Congregations in prosperous communities often seem as impoverished as their less affluent neighbors. The poverty to which I refer comes from the tendency of church people to focus on what they do not have, rather than what they do have.

Knowing resources are limited, we easily find ourselves using the language of scarcity rather than abundance, and in doing so fail to recognize God’s miracles in our midst.

Jesus told his disciples, “Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, god-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:33, The Message)

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach, heal and cast out demons, he explicitly sent them with nothing but the coats on their backs. While they easily could have found themselves worrying about the lack of resources for ministry, they simply did what Jesus had told them to do. When they returned, they found great things had happened among them despite their poverty.

In September 2008, when the financial crisis began to show itself in our church, we engaged in the difficult conversations that come when times get hard. However, I also invited our congregation to answer the question, “What resources do we have to share the love of God with our community?” It was a call to recognize the assets and gifts among us, rather than engaging in the “If we only had…” game that often seems to guide our lives. As we identified what God gives us, we posted those gifts on the wall for all to see.

Our task is to recognize the abundance God’s gifts. Yes, we may have to simplify. Yes, we may not be able to afford all the programs we have offered in the past.

The good news, however, is God is in our midst, giving us all we need: the love and grace that transforms us into something new. That is what makes us the richest people in the world.

--Jay Voorhees
By giving 100 percent to the 7 apportion funds and 6 church-wide Special Sundays, you show God's abundance to those who do not have. To learn more about the connectional giving system of the denomination click here.

God is Still In Control!

Miss Lladale Carey
Web Producer
United Methodist Communications

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