September 25, 2013
Kenneth L. Samuel
"As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,' he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'" - Luke 21:1-4 (NIV)
The Tyler Perry Studios are located about 15 miles from my church in metro-Atlanta. I know several people, including some church members who are or who have been employed at Tyler Perry Studios in various capacities—from actors to extras and technicians, etc. I've often said that if I could get Tyler Perry to tithe (10% of his income) to my church just one time, we'd have no more financial worries. (With Tyler Perry, we'd be OK with 1 or 2%.)
But apparently, Tyler Perry (or anyone else with deep pockets) hasn't gotten my message. So our church, like many others, has to depend upon the faithful gifts of those who give, not out of deep pockets, but out of deep devotion.
Not just churches, but civic organizations, like United Way and the NAACP, and even colleges and universities, survive not by the abundance of deep pocket contributors, but by the consistent pledges of working class and fixed-income individuals, who believe in the mission and the ministry of the organization enough to give of their limited resources for its support and sustainability.
Churches and non-profit civic organizations see a lot more contributions of $25 to $100 than they see contributions of $1000 to $5000+. And I suspect that those smaller contributions are much more consistent and dependable than the larger ones.
This is not to discount or dissuade contributions from those with deep pockets (I'm still trying to get my message to Tyler Perry and his well-heeled cronies). But those who cannot afford to miss a paycheck, but who give consistently; those who give in the face of their own pressing needs; those who give the best that they have and trust God for all that they need--they are worthy of special commendation and emulation.
Lord, we thank you for the contributions of those with deep devotion who keep our churches strong and our doors open. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.