Monday, October 09, 2006

My pastor gave one of the greatest object lessons I’ve ever seen in church on Sunday.

Before he got far into the message, he began handing out money to every man, woman and child present in the service. I thought he was handing out 20-dollar bills, which surprised me a bit, and I immediately began to wonder how he would bring the object lesson back around to everyone returning the money.

When he reached the row in front of me, I saw that he was handing out fifties. So when he got to me, I jokingly asked for three. He said, “Yes you get three: One for you and two for your children.” Then he found out that a couple of people, including my wife, were not currently in the sanctuary, so he gave out bills for those people also.

I also found myself counting heads to figure out how much he’d handed out, and how much money he must have been carrying to insure that his object lesson wouldn’t run short. I was tempted to mug everyone and leave town.

Near the end of his sermon about Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet, he said that while he was studying for Sunday, he decided he wanted to find something that would be a similar example to Christ’s service towards others. He mentioned that he could wash all of our feet, except that it would not come across the same since our culture doesn’t do that anymore.

So he said that he realized that the best comparison he could provide would be to give everyone $50 and ask them to keep it. Except that he didn’t want us to just pocket the money and leave it at that. He asked us to take part or all the money and give it to someone in need. If that is yourself, he mentioned, than you can use it for your own needs. The only requirement he made on us was to not refuse the money or give it back to him, and to not just put it in the church offering.

I was astounded. But his explanation certainly rang true with the text. Someone might try to stop him by saying he was going too far, he admitted. Probably, though, the disciples thought the same thing when Jesus wanted to wash their feet.

He took the money out of money. He effectively raised all the questions we ask about money (how much is being given away, can I get a couple of extra bills, could I be dishonest and gain some of this), and then dashed them. I give him a lot of credit for doing something that some of us present might never forget, that we will always be able to look back on and learn from.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's the going rate on a one-week wedding ring rental?

My wife was going through the mail, browsing a rent-to-own company's flyer. She pointed out to me that among the merchandise they were featuring was rent-to-own wedding rings.

How impressive would that be? That's about as classy as, I don't know, rent-to-own lingerie or something. Is that the non-commitment route? "Don't scratch it honey, it's only on loan."

I would like to get the statistics on how many marriages founded on an engagement ring rental plan end up lasting compared to general.

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