Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Now THAT'S Economic Stimulus!

A church in Texas has given a new purpose to the traditional collection plate. Instead of taking up an offering, they offered the plate to whomever needed it. In the past two months, they've given away a half-million dollars and this has inspired the congregation to be more generous than ever. Not only are they giving to congregants in need, but they're also giving back to the community and spreading the wealth to missions. I love this quote from the pastor when questioned if he worried about being taken advantage of, "I told my church a couple weeks ago, if I'm not being taken advantage of, I'm not being like Jesus."

This church is not alone in this either. The article doesn't say, but they may have been inspired by the book The Kingdom Assignment and its continued ministry.

This is an inspiring story, and one I hope my own congregation can repeat in some fashion. In a time when so many are worried how they're going to pay for their next meal or if they'll still have a job in a week, this church is doing what churches should be doing: helping those in need and inspiring hope. It's an example we should all consider.

On Sunday I shared for our contribution and related the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19. Considering the comfort we enjoy in this country and the religious freedom we have, I pointed out that giving sacrificially is likely the hardest thing we will ever do as Christians. Jesus told his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 19:23) Hope, from stories like this, make it that much easier.

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