I’m not giving an order, but by mentioning the commitment of others, I’m trying to prove the authenticity of your love also. You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty. I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford. A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little. (2 Corinthians 8:8-15, CEB)
The other day I saw a cartoon of a church administrator telling the pastor that the congregation’s biggest complainer was leaving and wanted their giving back. The administrator asked if she should write a check or simply give the person $2.00 in cash. We laugh because it’s funny, and it’s funny because it’s true.
People sometimes talk a big game. They say one thing and then don’t follow through which is why I tried hard not to have budgets based on pledge cards. Actually, in several congregations, we did pledge cards, collected them one Sunday, and returned them to the members the next unopened. Because they are something that is between that person and God, they can not be used for budgets. Because circumstances could change and the pledge might not be possible because of financial hardship. Or there could be a time you are able to give way more than you thought when the pledges were done.
We should be faithful to what we say and uphold those gifts as well as possible. We need to be people of our word. If you say it, mean it and do it.
Loving People. Loving God.