December 2015 Good $ense Newsletter: Finishing Well
As 2015 draws to a close I have been thinking about the concept of “finishing well”. What does finishing well look like? Is it the number of people touched with the stewardship message and discipled toward a closer relationship with Christ? Is it the number of events completed or resources distributed by the Good $ense Movement? Is it the number of people that are now generous, living on a budget, debt free, saving for worthwhile goals, and managing their finances as an act of worship to God?
All of these metrics and others could be part of finishing well. But ultimately what kept coming to mind is the health of the relationships in my sphere of influence….with family, friends, and ministry partners. Are those relationships getting stronger or weaker….expanding or contracting?
In the midst of this season in which the value of relationships is most clearly brought to our consciousness, we can’t help but be saddened by how much of our behavior prevents the deepening of those relationships. We over-busy ourselves and over spend ourselves – two sure recipes for relational neutrality, if not disaster. We further complicate things by giving and receiving more ‘stuff’ that we really don’t need and often don’t even have the space for. And that feeds a vicious cycle.
The cycle begins with our accumulation of things which, because of the time spent maintaining, protecting, storing and worrying about them, robs us of relational time. The isolation felt as a result of the decrease of relational time leads us to seek solace in acquiring more things – which the culture says will fill the void we feel. This, of course, further decreases the time available for relationships thus fueling the feeling of isolation and… well, you get the picture.
So I encourage you to ensure that your actions this Christmas contribute to deepening relationships – both human and with Him whose birth we celebrate. Something I read recently will be a help to me – and perhaps to you as well. It said:
“It’s not your birthday, it’s Jesus’ birthday. So why don’t you give the gifts Jesus would most like?”
Those words impacted me. Jesus declared in his ‘inaugural address’ (Lk 4:18) that he had come to preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives and set free the downtrodden. I’ve concluded that buying gifts for those who already have abundance probably isn’t what He would most appreciate.
He probably would appreciate giving a donation to a ministry to the poor in a friend’s name as our present to them. Or giving a child a sum of money – with the stipulation that they decide how to give it to someone in need, would probably also be a gift Jesus would like.
God’s call to each of us varies. But passive capitulation to the messages of our culture will not result in actions or gifts Jesus would “most like.” May this Christmas find you the giver of gifts that are meaningful and true gifts of love (Jesus will like all of those!) And may you also be the humble and grateful receiver of nothing less than God’s ultimate gift of love – His Son.
Let me close by saying I hope this has been a wonderful year for your ministry and that 2016 will see it taken to new levels of participation and effectiveness. What you’re doing has eternal value!
Sincerely in Christ,
President, Good Sense Movement
Transforming Finances! Transforming Lives!