Don’t Hate the Giver…Respect the Gift!
I apologize for the delay in posting a follow up to the budget crunch blog. I will actually post the follow up to that at the end of this blog. As you can imagine, most people and churches have been overwhelmed trying to respond to, or figuring out how to respond to the overwhelming devastation that took place in Haiti. I have been totally engrossed in trying to comprehend the responses of churches, organizations, and individuals.
The response from many was what we can we do, how can we help, or when can we leave. But there were some responses that basically said “why should we help when we have such an overwhelming need here?” Wow…let’s just say that I have been really struggling with those types of responses over the last week or two. On the one hand I can totally see how someone can look at the state of our nation, our hungry, and the state of our homeless children and families and wonder why we are devoting precious financial resources elsewhere. I can see why someone would wonder “where were those financial resources when women were being physically and sexually abused and members of our community were being removed from their home after months of joblessness?”
I would be concerned if I believed that those finances were just lying around and no one used them to help the people in our own communities. I am more inclined to believe that the overwhelming outpouring of resources that we saw, and continue to see, comes from people reaching deep into resources they don’t have to immediately respond to an unheard of national disaster, a nation literally destroyed by an earthquake.
Do I hope to see the same level of giving and response to our own nations needs? Definitely! Will I condemn and/or criticize those that do not respond to our own nations needs now or in the days, weeks, or months to come? Not at all! Will I criticize the critics who are judging others but not doing anything themselves? Each and every time!
I don’t think we have the right to judge or criticize those who are helping or how they are helping people in need if we are sitting and doing nothing. If we are doing something then we can likely understand why someone would feel compelled to help. We would also understand that we have no idea how much that person, organization, or church may have already contributed towards other needs. People who help generally establish a culture of giving and reaching out. People who don’t…well, they just don’t.
This whole concept has reconfirmed the steps our church is taking in ensuring our budget and how we use it is in line with our mission, vision, and values. One of our core values is Extreme Generosity – giving at an over the top level. We spent a lot of time (in some case years) in prayer asking God to provide human resources to help us Be the Church in our community. And God has answered with personnel to fill critical roles. Thus in order to ensure those roles remain filled we are only cutting one salary…mine. We are taking steps to preserve the ministries that we are doing and cutting any that don’t line up with our belief in why we’re here. I’m not writing this to brag or to boast, (seriously, how can I boast about a significant decrease in income). However, if we truly believe that God answered our prayers by providing the people we needed then those people and the ministries they lead should be and will be preserved and eventually expanded as the ministries grow.
For those who think this is madness, or just grandstanding…we saw an almost 30% increase in our giving over the last several weeks since taking these steps. Again, not boasting…just believing.