By Tom Stolle, BCM/D Chief Financial Officer and Missionary for Ministers’ Compensation/Church Treasurers/Stewardship
As I am writing these words, I am taking note of the following news items:
• The U.S. Census Bureau reports new home sales declined in January 2009 to their lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking this back in 1963.
• The DOW and the S&P 500 have fallen to their lowest level in approximately twelve years.
• Weekly jobless claims have risen to a 26-year high.
While the facts and many of the other continuous flood of the financial “doom and gloom” news reports that we seem to hear constantly certainly weigh heavy on us, believe it or not I actually have some good news:
Unlike the economy, our God is unchanging.
Aren’t you glad that God does not suspend his faithfulness or his promises based on current global economic indicators? The Bible says in Hebrews 13:8 that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
I have more good news! The Bible states the following in Phil. 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”.
In these tough financial times, I believe we as Christians need to examine our hearts, asking ourselves a question: “If I really trust God, shouldn’t I be confident that He will meet my needs?”
Concerning God, there is no economic depression, no plunging stock values, no massive job losses and no failing banks. God still owns it all and is in control.
Consider this: perhaps instead of responding to this economy by “pulling back” on giving perhaps we should demonstrate our trust in God and belief in His word by GIVING MORE! Sounds crazy? Maybe, but consider these verses from God’s Word:
Ecc. 5:10 “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”
Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
Mark 12:41-44 “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
In this issue of BaptistLIFE, the 2008 total year giving figures for Cooperative Program and BCM/D Cooperative Gifts are published by church for your reference. If your church has not participated in giving through the Cooperative Program, I encourage your church to consider giving in this manner. If your church does give through the Cooperative Program, I encourage you to continue practicing biblical giving through the Cooperative Program. I also want to thank you for partnering with us to share the Good News of Jesus to the world!
I believe that the Cooperative Program is the single most effective method for missions giving!
Did you know that Cooperative Program giving supports various evangelism efforts, new church starts, missions education, domestic and foreign missionaries, training future leaders through Baptist seminaries, and many other Christ-centered causes?
Enclosed in this issue of BaptistLIFE, you will find an insert highlighting some of the many ways that your generous giving through Cooperative Program impacts Maryland, Delaware and the world.
Our God is still doing great and mighty things! I look forward to seeing the wonderful things that God will do in 2009.