Monday, March 10, 2014

Your Calendar - Your Budget - Your Faith?

For my Christian friends:

If a stranger saw your calendar and your budget, would they be able to tell that you were a Christian?

I know you are busy, and you keep track of your days from morning to night. I know that you have a planner, or an online calendar, something on your smart phone you can pull up anywhere, any time.

Just curious, is the word “worship” on that calendar anywhere?

In all the hours that you have planned out for yourself and perhaps your family over the course of the week, is one of those hours intentionally set aside to gather together with others to worship God? Just one?

I know you are busy, you travel, you have to be places for work, for the team, for fun. Now, I might be underestimating here, but I’ll bet you they have churches in those places where you have to be. So pick one, find out when they worship, and go.

And by the way, have you scheduled in a time for daily prayer?

In all of the minutes you have so carefully strung together, are maybe five of them designated for “prayer” every day? That calendar on your phone has a notification function, doesn’t it? You could set it to notify you every day, “It is time to pray.” Your attention is drawn from this to that with whiplash intensity all day long. When is your attention drawn completely to God? When do you simply pray? Not “while I’m driving” or “while I’m exercising” … just praying.

And you know, I’ll bet that your calendar has on it a meeting or two that is intended to make you better at something you do: a staff meeting, an in-service, a training event, a conference, something like that.

But is there a meeting on your calendar intended to make you better at following Christ? Sunday school or Bible study or small group or something like that? I know that you are not content to just maintain your current skill level when it comes to your work or your sport or your hobby; why in the world would you be satisfied merely maintaining your current spiritual “skill set,” then? Does your calendar include your spiritual growth?

And if that stranger were to pick up your budget, what would they see there? I know that you keep a budget; you are careful and faithful with your resources, you want to be responsible. Is “Tithe” on the first line of your budgeted expenses? You know, the “first fruits” of each harvest, that initial 10% from every pay period that Scripture says we are to give to God.

Or is your generosity more of a sporadic “when I think about it I’ll drop a twenty or two in the plate” kind of giving? Putting it in your budget, and putting it first, gives your generosity the intentionality and purpose that is asked of Christian disciples.  

And then, on top of that, would that stranger see in your budget resources that you intend to share with those who are in need? Have you budgeted so that you can offer help when help is needed? Have you budgeted so that you can respond with abundance when disaster strikes? Have you budgeted so that you can serve “the least of these” in a way that is faithful to the Christian call? Does your budget empower you to follow Jesus?

Our time and our money are two of our most precious resources, and we are wise to track these resources carefully with calendar and budget. As such, these ought to reflect our priorities, revealing what is truly important to us. One might say, they reveal who we are.

Who would a stranger think you were, based on your calendar and your budget? Would they think you had even heard of Jesus, let alone profess to follow him as Lord and Savior?

If a complete stranger saw your calendar and your budget, would they know you were a Christian?

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