An interactive poll using our audience response system taken during my recent Sunday message “Overcoming the Fear of Lack” revealed serious fallout in our congregation from the current economic downturn. Polling over 230 adults in both services we discovered that 42% had experienced an income reduction, 10.8% had lost jobs and an additional 9% were in danger of losing their job. (It is interesting to note that Minnesota’s current unemployment rate is 7.3%.) As a result 29% said they were struggling to pay their bills and 17% admitted cutting back on their giving. The emotional toll with increased economic stress was clearly expressed in 77% indicating that within the last month they had found themselves worrying about finances!
The point of my message was to reiterate the Bible’s counter intuitive truth that in the face of scarcity, giving unlocks the door to abundance. The story in Mark 6 of Jesus feeding the 5000 was my case in point. Jesus’ response to His disciples, who were perplexed because of the scarcity of their resources, caught them totally off guard. “You give” them something to eat, He commands. And the rest is miraculous history.
I was pleased with the response of our congregation to Jesus’ “You give!” challenge in the face of their own perplexity and scarcity. When I proposed a 90 day challenge for each person to increase present giving by 1% of their current income 64% responded with a definite “yes” and an additional 31% said “maybe, let me think/pray about it.” I think that is a very encouraging response because it indicates a tangible faith in God’s faithfulness. My prayer is that each one will be richly rewarded!