Friday, November 20, 2009

Free Lunch

Our new church, Eagle Brook Church, is currently going through another huge growth spurt and with that comes a new building campaign where the church is asking all of us to help shoulder the costs of two new campuses to reach the unsaved for Christ. It's a great goal. I wish we could give more than we are, but our current situation makes it really tough to spare anything significant. In fact, the thought had passed by us once or twice to stop tithing altogether. Thankfully, Angie and I both agreed that was unacceptable. However, it did get my mind rolling on the subject.

I remember when I was in the second grade, we had to pre-pay for our lunches at school every week on Monday. Well, one particular week, I forgot to take the money my mother had given me to school after leaving it on my dresser that morning. Feeling sorry for me, the lunch lady gave me a free lunch that day. My needs were met and I didn't give it a second thought. On the walk home from the bus stop, I remembered the money I left behind and got very excited. I ran the rest of the way home, grabbed the cash and raced off to the local convenience store, where I promptly bought a paper bag full of candy, a balsa wood airplane and one of those parachute army men. It was a great day to be me, I thought.

Feeling like I was on top of the world after spending the money my mother had given me on selfish stuff, it never once occurred to me that I owed it to anyone to do anything else with that money. Little did I realize at the time, that money was the only way me, or my brother, would get lunch for the rest of the week and now my mother would have to take money out of our grocery budget to make up for the shortfall my greed had created.

Needless to say, when my mother got home and found out what I had done, I was punished for it. Not so much because she was mad, but because she wanted me to learn a lesson.

I often wonder if that's the same lesson some of us need to learn as adults. God provides us with money he expects us to use to meet the needs of our "family" which includes everyone on Earth.

Instead, we spend the money on paper bags full of candy... well, more like nice cars, fancier houses than we really need, more clothes than we could possibly wear in a week and feeling on top of the world the whole time we do it. This is exactly what Angie and I did for years, and with every selfish penny spent, we dug ourselves into a deeper and deeper spiritual hole.

How many of us "forgot our lunch money" when collection time comes around at Church? How many people think God blesses us so we can bless ourselves? I know I did for a long time. How many of us figure that the lunch lady will pick up our slack by giving us a free lunch when tithing time comes? We did when we first started attending Palm Valley.

God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others, even if all we have is a “mite” to give. So, with that in mind, Angie and I decided yesterday, we’ll give significantly to the new building campaign, even though from a worldly viewpoint, we have nothing to give.

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