A friend of mine in ministry was leading a stewardship campaign. He told his congregation about the studies of Elizabeth Kubler Ross. She was a trailblazer in the study of how people die. Some of her work seems simple now but she was a pioneer. When she reviewed the thousands of interviews she conducted, she noticed that no one ever spoke of ownership or accomplishment. They only spoke of relationship. She concluded that at the end of life, “the things that we will care most about will be those moments of love, those bonds of relational love that we have developed between other people, our family, our friends and others.”
My friend asked his congregation during their pledge drive: “What percentage of your time do you spend in those three areas of your life; ownership, accomplishment and relationship?” This is a very sobering exercise. I told some of you recently about a disturbing stat that an old youth minister buddy of mine sent my way. My buddy asked, “How much time do you think the average father spends in actual conversation with his children?” He had me stumped.
He said, “45 seconds per day.” Dad leaves early, comes home late. The kids are in school and sports and there is homework and friends and, well, you get the point.
I am making three pledges this year. Our pledge to the church operating fund will be a good one for us: 10 percent of our income. We will continue our capital campaign pledge, too. We are glad to help with the renovations and repairs.
I am making a third pledge, too. It is to my family and it is about giving them more of my time. There is a certain amount of sacrifice in each of these promises but one thing is clear, the more I give, the better I feel.
Grace and peace to you,