Ever encounter something that is ridiculous and impossible? Today I was riding my bike and a little dog came out from a block away ... about six inches tall and full of himself. He was barking and threatening and his poor little head wouldn't even reach the pedal. It was both funny and ridiculous. I told him to go on home before he encountered something that might eat him.
We sometimes do things that are ridiculous. Many times we tackle causes that are impossible (like that little dog). I did admire his courage and our courage for wanting to fight the unbeatable foe. But sometimes we tackle projects that are ridiculous from their inception. They are things that are self-evident. We try to push and control them. I wonder if this is what God was saying to the prophet when he asks several rhetorical questions and then answers them. The conversation goes like this ... "What can we bring the Lord? What kind of offerings should we give Him? Should we bow before God and give of yearling calves? Should we offer Him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? No ... O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:7-8)." God is saying that we ask these questions and maybe (in my case) preach sermons about truth that is self-evident. God is sarcastically saying "Don't being that weak stuff and those silly questions in here ... you know full well what you should do and I am not going to let you hang your responsibility on the messenger, the eloquence of the presentation, the magnitude of the offering or any other excuse you might have." God is explicitly saying we DO know what He wants.
In that spirit, this is the time of the year I am supposed to have what is called a "Stewardship Campaign." It seems that such campaigns are "the way it has always been done." They are the little dog (the pastor) chasing a task way bigger then he is. So I am going to rely on what God's Word has told us. That way I won't mess up the message with a "campaign," a "scheme" or some great idea to tell you what you already know. I am not going to insult you with a beautifully-designed card or that little table that tells you what 10% of your income figures out to be (we can do the math). I am not going to tell you that we are better or worse off than we are. But here is what will be done faithfully:
1. I will ask the finance team to report our monthly income so you will know the financial condition of the church.
2. We will send (at least quarterly) a statement of your giving. You can do the math and see where you stand, and I am confident that you know what God requires of you.
3. We will answer any financial question you might ask and I will ask for your prayers to lead us to faithfully care for God's money.
4. I will continue to give thanks for your giving (because of your giving we have been faithful participants in God's mission through the Church in our community, our nation and our world).
5. I will ask you to read (often) Micah 6:7-8 so you are reminded of what God requires of you ... that way I won't need to repeat it.
Thanks for listening today! You are all a blessing and I give thanks to God for you! Randy