Have you ever lived in a place where things in the Bible paralleled your life? I joke that I was living in such a place in college where, after a lot of studying, I discovered Act 26:24, “While Paul was making his defense, Festus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are insane. Too much studying has driven you crazy.'” Sure, that’s a funny example, but I’m at a place now that the Bible makes more sense to me now than ever before. It makes sense in an experiential, not just theoretical way.

I never understood Acts where it said that whole families were coming to know Jesus at the same time until I saw it with my own eyes. I never thought I’d be at a church where the Acts 2 passage didn’t seem like hyperbole, but if anything a pared down description of the facts. I never believed that I could see “the Lord add[ing] to [our] number daily those who were being saved. I never thought it was possible that God could make evangelism something that I thought I was capable of doing. Now, that’s all true for me.

Still, I hadn’t seen everything. There were miracles that seemed almost outside the realm of possibility. The feeding of the 5000 was one such miracle. Sure, I believed that God can do anything, but changing the way math works with the raw materials of fish sticks and wonderbread, that’s just outside of what I’d ever seen.

Fast forward to last night. We’re in the middle of a campaign at church–Imagine 2: The Power of Everybody. As part of that spiritual journey, Pete, our pastor, called together the leaders, 100 families, to go first. This makes sense. Leaders lead. Normally it’s done by going first. So Friday night we all filed into a small room to thank God for what He’s done and, in faith, commit to what we’ll give.

Our modest goal for this whole campaign was $8,625,000 over three years. The experts tell us that for a church our size, that’s impossible. We should be trying to raise something more like $5,000,000. It’s not a small difference. When Pete told the consultant that number, the consultant paused and tried to talk him out of it.

Yet here we are one week before all of the rest of the church commits to what they’re going to give. So 5% or so of our church has submitted their number already. I get to be part of one of those families, probably a tad below average in our income, but fairly close. I did the math and realized that it’s just not possible. Bill Gates doesn’t go to our church. Nobody can write a $5,000,000 check to make it possible. Sure we’ve got some that can give more, but most can’t.

With all this in the background, Pete announced the number that our church leaders are going to give. It’s an impossible number. $2,000,000? $4,000,000? No, the leaders of our church (including the staff and you know how little church staff make) are going to give $6,923,000 leaving $1,702,000 for the remaining 95% of the church.

I know these people. The math just doesn’t work. Many of us are twenty-somethings just out of college. Quite a few are unemployed. Some have money, but most don’t. I guess I know a little how the disciples felt after the feeding of the 5000. I’ve just seen the impossible and you can’t unsee what you’ve seen.

Paul

Advertisements