Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,Psalm 39:5-6 (NKJV)
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.
I remember going to a family reunion one year when I was about 8 years old at Guntersville State Park. As memories go, most of what went on those couple of days has faded away, but I do remember several things. They had a pool, and that’s where I learned to swim, thanks to my cousin Dena. We played a Bible trivia board game that another cousin of mine had made. She gave me my own copy of the game because I knew John 3:16. I also remember looking at a big book another relative had that contained our family history and family tree dating back a few hundred years to Scotland.
The names of those men and women from long ago in my family are mostly unknown to the world outside of our family and close relations. The same would likely be true for most folks, I suppose. It’s possibly even true of the long-ago members of our churches.
While that’s a sobering thought, the psalmist knew this and wrote about it centuries ago. At some point most of us come to the realization that life is short – very short. The psalmist beautifully and clearly connects the brevity of our lives with how we invest our finances. There is a warning against “heaping up” riches. There are many personal applications for someone not heaping up wealth for themselves.
I would suggest the same principle would be true of churches as well. Let me encourage you and your churches to find the healthiest place you can be regarding your finances. Over-spending and frivolous spending would certainly be unhealthy, but so would allowing worry about financial uncertainty to be the primary focus of planning your church budget.
Psalm 39:5-6 seems to point us toward investing in eternal matters. The Bible, especially the words of Jesus, affirms that idea. Matthew 6:19 (NKJV) says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Again, this is spoken toward the individual, but it seems to apply to churches as well.
One of the powerful aspects of the Cooperative Program is the emphasis on our collective investment in treasures to be stored in heaven. I doubt church members in heaven will regret the money invested into fulfilling the Great Commission. This may be especially true of the investment we each make, which is not for the direct benefit of our local church. Giving through CP allows our churches to demonstrate cooperation and humility.
If you’re reading this, chances are you and your church are strong advocates of giving through the Cooperative Program, so let me say, “Thank you!”
Our work is great, and the fields are truly white unto the harvest. We all have our work cut out for us, and we certainly need to work together in bringing the Gospel light into the darkness that surrounds us. We are better together!
State Missionary Jay Stewart serves as director of Cooperative Program & Church Financial Resources. He may be contacted at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 2283, or (334) 613-2283, firstname.lastname@example.org.