Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v06n24)
Life's Ripples from Broad Ripple United Methodist Church by Rev. Timothy Rasmussen
posted: Dec. 04, 2009
I heard a person on television say we are at that time of year we set aside to be thankful. Wow! I guess that means we can't be thankful any other time. Maybe that is part of our problem as a nation. We simply no longer know how to feel gratitude. We are such a spoiled people that we feel like we are entitled to it all. Even with our economy being poor right now, most of us still have way more than we need.
The organization that I'm closest to is also having financial difficulties. There are smaller churches out there that are for the first time in decades of existence facing the reality of closing their doors for good. Pastors and church leaders are having to make difficult decisions on allocating their giving to missions both locally and worldwide. Congregations are having to make difficult decisions because they can no longer afford to pay their pastors as well as other support staff.
With all this going on, I have to wonder if the overall church has lost its original calling. The earlier church as I remember it was more focused on mission giving and outreach to the community. When the church was focused on God's calling, there were no problems meeting budget, paying staff, etc. Recently, the United Methodist Bishops agreed to roll back their salaries to the 2008 level. However, I contend that when the church can no longer give money to missions and local churches are closing their doors we have failed to be who we were called to be. When we get back to our roots of serving God and serving our fellow man we will realize that God's budget plan and human's budget plans are two entirely different things.
I believe we truly do have everything we need, and that our focus should be on giving God thanks this day for His bountiful blessings. Maybe we should also give thanks to God that He still blesses us even in our unfaithfulness and disbelief in His ability to manage our financial picture far better than we can.
Tim has been a United Methodist Pastor since 1973 and has been at Broad Ripple United Methodist since 2003. Email your questions/comments to tim@BroadRippleGazette.com