Stewardship Resource

Myth of Scarcity

Happening  Happening
  • Author: Paul Batz, Layperson at Diamond Lake Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, MN. Paul is author of the book, Inspire, Persuade and Lead.
  • Updated: 03/19/2008
  • Copyright: Paul Batz

An effective temple talk by a layperson who invites the people of the congregation to reflect on their "new" spending and to increase their giving by the same amount.

Temple Talk...
by Paul Batz

Its easy when times are tough to think inward: to concentrate on ourselves. And we often worry that we don't have enough of what we really need to be "comfortable" or "free." That, my friends is a myth...the myth of scarcity. Look around, we are wealthy people, living lives of abundance.

There is a little book: The Prayer of Jabez, on the NY Times Bestseller list. It talks about the lyric of abundance. How God has given us so much. And we can ask for so much more, if we are willing to "expand out territory" - reach out to more people with what God has given us.

So the lyric of abundance is about taking care of others, and the myth of scarcity is about taking care of us. Let's look at our financial picture: 78% of our budget is "taking care of us." That doesn't even count the other stuff that could be considered "taking care of us." Last year's budget had only 7% for benevolence...taking care of others. Is that OK with you? We are wealthy people, and we are spending 93% of our financial gifts to take care of our own....Hmmm.

But our lives are expensive, no?

Let's take a look at the things we spend money on TODAY, that we didn't consider necessities 10 years ago.

The most significant change in our world in the last ten years was the internet, right? That caused our standard of living to escalate quickly, with all sorts of opportunities. But there were personal costs, too.

How much did that computer cost you? Do you have more than one in your home? Mine cost me $90 per month.

How about some other luxuries:
Caribou coffee: Hazelnut Latte: $2.75. Twice a week, four weeks a month, about $20 a month = $240 a year.

Cell phones: Didn't have this ten years ago...most cost around $40 a month. I know one household in this congregation that has 5 in their house! Two phones cost $80 a month. total of $960 a year.

Internet service: We have cable modem, $50 a month, including multiple email accounts. That's $600 a year.

Let's not even consider the new features (like caller ID) on your telephone, or the fancy tools that are piling up in my workshop (that's off limits) or the shoes in the bottom of my wife's closet. Or the DVD rentals and car upgrades etc. etc.

If you take a close look at your "taking care of yourself" spending, it's probably in the $400 a month range easily. If every family unit in our congregation added to their congregational giving JUST AS MUCH for "taking care of others" as they did for "taking care of myself" then our benevolence (taking care of others) would increase by 600%.

Want to help the people in NY? Lutherans are there. Want to help the refugees in Afghanistan's? Lutherans are there. Want to help the homeless in Minneapolis? Lutherans are there.

As you consider your pledge, keep in mind these two things:
If you think beyond your own neighborhood, your own city and state, your own country...if you think globally:
1) if you have money in your pocket right now, you are richer than 75% of the people on the planet.
2) and if you have money in the bank, you are
wealthier than 94% of the people on the planet.

We are a wealthy congregation. And we are spending most of our money on ourselves. Let's embrace the Lyric of Abundance and pour out our gifts on the people who need it most. Amen.

Paul Batz, Vice President
MDA Consulting Group, Inc.
Phone: 612-259-4251
Fax: 612-334-3299

Paul is author of a new book just out, INSPIRE, PERSUADE, LEAD (Featuring the Ten Commandments of Leadership Communication) Beaver's Pond Press, Inc., 2001.  
12 Temple Talk Worksheet
Diamond Lake Lutheran Church: Stewardship 2001

X Yes! I will live my life by the Lyric of Abundance, and pour out my gifts and financial contributions for the good of others.

Abundance worksheet

My financial contribution for last year

Total $___________________ Per month $ _____________

I will reflect on my good fortune, and strive to discover all of the additional lifestyle spending, over and above what I spent on my lifestyle ten years ago. And, I will increase my monthly contribution by the following amounts:

My monthly Starbucks / Caribou coffee: $ _____________

My monthly internet service provider: $ _____________

My monthly household spending on Cell Phones: $ _____________

My monthly DVD rentals: $ _____________

My monthly spending on computer games / programs $ _____________

My monthly spending caller ID and other telephone upgrades: $ _____________

My monthly spending on [________________] $ _____________

Total increase $ _____________

Pledge last year $ _____________

Grand total for 2002 $______________

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