Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hour for hour

I had an obvious but challenging thought this week. As church staff members, every time we spend an hour doing something for our jobs, someone in our congregation had to do an hour of work to pay for it. Every time we spend $15 of church money a real person in our congregation had to labor for an hour or two to pay for it.

I find myself feeling very accountable when I think about an actual person doing actual work so I can spend church time and church money.

The next time I decide how I'll spend my next hour or spend the next $10 or $20 of church budget I want to be thinking about the people who labored to make it possible doing things like this:
- cutting grass for an hour
- selling cars for an hour
- cleaning houses for an hour
- brewing coffee for an hour
- changing diapers in a day care for an hour
- directing traffic in the hot sun for an hour

This may seem really obvious and simplistic. And, I acknowledge that people are tithing joyfully not begrudgingly. No one is sitting around thinking about this hour for hour deal; they are giving to God. BUT... it does help me prioritize my spending of church time and money when I think of the decisions that workers are making all over Little Rock and beyond to labor in their job that next hour and give the money earned to Mosaic Church.

Yesterday, I had to rush order a case of labels needed for child check-in this Sunday. My neglect of that known need caused me to spend more on shipping than I should have. Imagine if I had to go to a member of the congregation at his workplace and ask him to work the next 2 hours to pay for the excessive shipping cost related to my procrastination.

One other related thought... An old friend of mine was a missionary to Romania. In Romania, people don't make much money and giving to the church is low. In order to do the things the church wants to do, people in this one area painstakingly craft and sell shoes to make money for the church. I find that very challenging.

Maybe an axiom is in order! When deciding how to spend church time or church money, ask yourself: "Would someone make shoes for this?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

The power of accountability

My wife and I have tried dieting separately off and on through the years semi-successfully. We've had a breakthrough now though. We've been dieting TOGETHER. We each set a weight goal (really a mini-goal on the way to our true goal weight). We both LOVE desserts, but we agreed that we wouldn't eat ANY sweets until we both met our mini-goals. It's been about 3 weeks with no sweets (and for me about 6 weeks with not a single Coke!) Debbie met her goal two days ago and I met mine today.

We'll celebrate with a reasonable dessert tonight and then we need to set our next weight goals and decide what we are going to keep each other accountable to regarding food and exercise.

This makes me think. We are succeeding in the weight loss department through accountability, but what else should we be using accountability to help us accomplish? Probably lots of things! We should think on that.

What are you and your spouse or friend working on together?