by Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Wilburn
Written while on prayer retreat at Conception Abbey:
Coming up with a pledge amount is not about coming up with an outrageous number that has no basis in reality or is obviously undoable without a miracle. That is not faith. That kind of wish-dream is the opposite of faith. It is magic. Magic doesn’t need our involvement or our faith.
No, a legitimate “faith number” is based on our well thought out, smartly calculated assessment of our income and chosen lifestyle, which then causes us to live a lessened and simpler lifestyle that daily reminds us of our dependency on God. That is faith. It is not faith to come up with an unfounded amount that has no chance of coming true. This sort of thing forces God to buy us a lottery ticket! Real faith however, is never that dreamy, but rather is an amount already within one’s household income and real potential. The real act of faith is in the follow through, the act of making the commitment come true.
Consider King David’s prayer after a victory…
For it was not in my bow that I trusted
Nor was I saved by my sword:
It was you who saved us from our foes;
…All day long our boast was in God,
And we will praise your name forever. – Psalm 44:7-9
Apparently David really did engage in a battle – David really did have a bow, a sword and a well-equipped army. That much was very real. We can be sure David thought about how to take his army into battle with the goal of victory. Did David then conclude that he alone accomplished the victory through his own strength and intelligence? No. David’s faith was in God. God saved them, God made it happen.
This is exactly the sort of authentic faith we must use to come up with a challenging and lifestyle-altering pledge amount for Fearless. As you “battle” to come up with the right number, make sure you understand faith. Over the next three years all of us want to constantly say ‘All day long our boast is in God.’
Peace unto you.