Don Linscott shares a powerful and personal story about the cost of growth.
“I wish we didn’t talk so much about money,” is a comment I have often heard while working with churches to raise funds for their important purposes.
I understand the sentiment but hold an opposing viewpoint. In fact, I hope my church always needs money.
Here is why.
My son, Lance, was born before it became acceptable for the father to be present in the delivery room. (A fact for which I have always been grateful!) I waited in the hallway just outside the delivery room.
At precisely 4:13 p.m., I heard the unmistakable cry of a newborn baby, Lance’s first sound. The nurse emerged with a smile and said, “You have a baby boy.”
Only a new father can know the wonder of those words!
The wonderful glow of fatherhood was soon dimmed, however, when I was asked to visit the business office of the hospital. They wanted me to pay for Lance! In fact, it seemed to me that my child might be held hostage until the hospital bill was settled.
I wrote the check paying all the expenses in full, freed my family, and we made our escape. That check turned out to be only the first of hundreds, maybe thousands, I would write on Lance’s behalf.
Children are expensive. There was formula and food to buy. Doctor visits and vaccinations assaulted my banking account. Diapers and toys took their toll. And clothes were a constant drain. Just when he would get a good wardrobe, he would grow a smidgen, and we would have to start all over.
As Lance’s age and size increased, so did the expenses. Soon, it was baseball gloves, Nike shoes, and uniforms. Then he needed glasses for his eyes and braces for his teeth.
And then, disaster struck. Lance became a teenager! Now it was cars, electronic gadgets, and cool clothes.
Then came college. Lance had always, and only, wanted to be an architect. To me, it seemed he would be in school until he was forty‑two years old.
Expenses soared! Tuition, books, and drawing tools led the long list of essential expenditures.
But of course, just like loving fathers everywhere, I was happy to be able to help him, and I did all I could to support his growth and his dreams. I never thought of these expenses as “sacrifice.”
I was his Daddy and was prepared to give everything possible toward his life and dreams.
And then, one day, Lance died.
On a bright, beautiful, and horrible Halloween Day, twenty-one-year-old Lance was buried in his church’s little country cemetery. That afternoon, I walked away from his grave, and since that day, I have never spent another nickel on Lance.
That is how I learned it. Death is cheap. Death can be sustained without expense.
It is living that is costly.
It is growth that is expensive.
Our dreams, visions, and hopes require resources. Death doesn’t!
And that is why I am glad my church needs money.
A living, growing, thriving church will always require the continual, consistent, and conscientious financial support of its members. And that’s the church I want to belong to.