Actually, our General fund contributions had begun to increase in the 2009-10 church year, but not by 20%. Prior to about halfway through the 2009-10 church year we had a string of quarters in which General Fund donations kept going down. The recession took it's toll on church giving for a while. Looking at financial statements prior to a business meeting was, frankly, kind of depressing when contributions were down.
But, for more than a year, we have seen significant improvement in church finances. So, earlier today, I was looking at the numbers and I was thanking God when God spoke to me. Oh, God didn't speak to me out loud, because God knows I'm a Baptist and so I wouldn't be able to handle that. But I sensed that God said to me, "Did you have less reason to be thankful when contributions were down?"
Oh, but God didn't stop there. On the heels of the word above whispered in my soul, I remembered this passage:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:11-12, TNIV)
Have I really learned the secret of being content in any and every circumstance? Have you? Do the followers of Christ have fewer reasons to be thankful in lean times? Is the wholeness that is ours in Christ diminished in a recession? In churches, should we thank God less when the financial statement is weak (according to our definition) than when it is strong?
Can we learn to be content (content!) in any and every situation?