In this current economic climate I think we have lost some perspective. As our
culture continues to face issues with price tags in the billions and
trillions, we have stopped trying to comprehend the value, the cost of those
solutions. We have grown very
comfortable discussing billion and trillion dollar ideas and we no longer
flinch at the mention of a million dollar problem.
We have become numb and desensitized to the reality of what a million
dollars means in this world.
We have huge problems and those problems need
to be solved. The new normal is to
spend our way out of trouble. There
was a time when the idea of a “bailout” meant failure; today the bailout has become a badge
of courage for companies so successful that they are categorized as “too big to
The idea of spending our way out of a problem is not a new one,
but it is a solution that tends to be very short sided. Bailouts and
stimulus packages are short-term solutions for long-term problems. These solutions don’t solve problems
they only delay the consequences.
The downside to short term thinking is that one the debt will have to be paid back and we will
be forced to write the check.
Each day we ignore this reality the check gets bigger.
This week I read about a church that, I believe has also lost
perspective. First Baptist Dalls
has, on some level, determined they have a problem that needs to be fixed. They have apparently decided to solve
that problem with 130 million dollars worth of new church construction. The local media described the plan as
the “largest church construction project in modern history.” Robert Jeffress, the new Sr. Pastor
said, "I think if Jerry Jones can build a $1.3 billion temple to the god
of sports out there in Arlington, we can spend a 10th of that, which is what
we're doing, $130 million, to build a facility for the glory of the one and
Don’t get me wrong, I do not doubt their hearts nor do I question
their motivation. I know they want
to reach more people with the life saving message of Jesus Christ. The problem for me is that their
solution lacks long-term vision.
Their solution lacks creativity; it lacks originality. It is a solution for their
existing generation, not the generation yet to come. It is the same old, tired, “spend our way out” mentality
wrapped in a “new technology for a new generation” package.
I am very confident that FBD will grow and that they will reach many people, but to what end? Buildings and programs don’t change
lives, relationships change lives.
Too cliche? How about
this? A pastor friend of mine says
it this way, “the most innovative thing a church can do is love people.”
Any solution that does not included large chunks of
generosity from the church to the hurting world around us is an incomplete
solution. It is a tired and unoriginal
solution. The Church is called to
be the light in a darkened world, we must be the best and the brightest light
imaginable. The light doesn’t get
better or brighter with better buildings or better programs. Our light gets brighter when we produce
better and brighter people. People
should come in our doors looking for the light and leave our doors BEING the
light. That sort of transformation
can happen under a tree in Africa or it can happen in your own driveway. If the Church is doing its job
correctly, which is to say generously loving the world, it will happen
Generosity is the
solution to our dilemma. Giving it
away is what the world is waiting for us to do.
I thought about ending this post with a list of things that
could be done with 130 million.
Instead, this is what I hope I would do with 130 million. I don’t currently have 130 million so
no one really knows, but I like to think this is what I would do.
First I would pay off the mortgages of a couple great
churches (7 million) freeing them up to do what they do best…change peoples
lives for eternity. Then I would
tithe to those churches (13 million)…freeing them up to change the world. Then I would eliminate the debt of my
friends and family (1 million)…freeing them up to change their family
trees. Then I would take a
fantastic vacation (500k) with my family and friends.
Finally, I would take the remaining money and provide a lifetime of
clean drinking water for 15.5 million people.
If we (me, you and the Church) don’t start solving our short-term problems with new, original, long term solutions we are going to wake up one day to the harsh reality that the problems we are trying to solve don’t like us any more.