“Who believes in the hereafter?” the pastor asked the congregation. Hands went up all over, of course. “Good!” the pastor said, “because we’re here after a good offering!”
A bad joke but the kind of bad joke to which ministers often make recourse to paper over their own discomfiture at asking for money. Yes, some pastors (especially high profile pastors on television) are very good at fundraising, but rarely are they my favorite type of minister.
Finances in the church are often a touchy subject. One Elder with whom I served in a congregation stated in a meeting his firm belief that everyone on Council should know the giving patterns of every single member in the church. The others in the room looked at him as though he had just suggested holding an orgy at the next Council retreat. Very few people I have known on Church Councils—Elders but even most Deacons—just don’t want to have that information.
Even in the early church when the initial indications were that people shared all in common without a qualm, there was soon enough that bad business with Ananias and Sapphira and well, Acts tells that that “fear fell over the whole community.” I’ll say. This money stuff can get tricky.
In the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart’s character of George Bailey is broke and about to lose everything. So he asks his guardian angel Clarence, “I don’t suppose you use money up in heaven?” “Oh, no” Clarence replies. “Well, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub,” George rejoins.
Indeed, money does come in pretty handy because not much happens without it.
As we always note at this time of the year, the Reformed Journal is a labor of love by a volunteer cadre of writers, editors, and the like. But maintaining a good website and being able to fix the glitches that inevitably come does require some money.
Although I don’t have a distracting joke to give, I am a minister now asking you to give to this little enterprise we have here.
We have some incentives for those of you who can give at least $300. Really, any and every amount keeps us motoring along as we continue to try to provide you with a Reformed perspective on current events, the life of the church, the beauty of nature, and so much more.
We appreciate you readers more than we can say. Any help you can give on our giving page will also be valued more than we can say.
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