Sunday, February 25, 2007


I had some people ask me about a comment I made this weekend. I was talking about one of the groups in the “pie chart”: the approximated 15 gifts that would make up one-third of the finances needed for the Luke 4 Challenge—gifts between $100,000 and $1M. When I mentioned what a sacrificial commitment might look like in that group, I said to consider leaving a legacy of giving now instead of a bigger inheritance for your kids later. And then I off-handedly said, “I’m not a big believer in inheritances…they need to work for their money anyway!”

Some folks asked me about the story the week before of my mom feeling guilty she and dad weren’t able to leave their kids anything...that she had become a Christian and read in Proverbs 13: A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. So what’s with that?

Keep in mind that Israel had an agrarian culture; leaving land was critical for children to not end up enslaved. But today, most inheritances are more like windfalls than supplying a critical need. As I mentioned to my mom, the spiritual life she gave me was a much better legacy than money. What’s more, I would rather trust God myself for what my needs are…and I’m pretty sure I would have been more encouraged if they did have money had they given it to the Kingdom. I’ll take spiritual modeling any day of the week.

Let’s be honest: sometimes it’s odd talking about money. It feels very personal.

You know the old stat: Jesus talked more about money than heaven or hell combined. My response has been, “Yeah, but that was God. And I’m not God.” But in the past few years I’ve been thinking differently. Er…I don’t mean I think I’m God, but this:

I have some friends with a prophetic bent, so I’ve often taken people struggling to hear God to meet them and have them pray over them. I’ve also tapped people I know with a hospitality gift to help when someone is visiting from out-of-town. But somehow I never connected the gift that some people have for generating income with asking them to give in a big way to a missional project…and in my mind that’s just about everything at the Vineyard. But even more, I’m convinced that 99.9% of us are unbelievably affluent compared to the global village. Our ability to generate income is fantastic when juxtaposed with the rest of the world. It's a gift.

So I’m over it. If the cause is God-honoring, if it’s Spirit-led, if there is integrity with the people involved, and if it’s outward-focused, then I say: let’s cough it up. We’re in this together. And the reason why is because we need each other…and we can exponentially do more.

I think those are good reasons. What do you think?


  1. i think you're a rock star! i am grateful for the boldness with which you are approaching and responding...

    i just want to reiterate that inheritance is oh so much more than money-we are going to be helping a nation guarantee the inheritance of life, as we have been guaranteed life with and in Christ. an inheritance of health, of opportunity, and the evolution of love...

    it's simply splendiferous!

  2. We started attending this church just a few months ago. We've been to other Vineyards, to other big churches, to churches closer to home. But, for whatever reason, somehow we seem to have landed here.. for such a time as this.
    Hmm.. was this an accident? I'll say "no" because I know God had a purpose in allowing our unsettled spirit that led us eventually to this place.
    Imagine our surprise when 10 weeks into our journey with the Springdale Vineyard, this big Luke 4 initiative is announced. Great stuff, sure, but this is on a scale that positively boggles the mind. And of course Dave utters the dirty word behind it all.. no not that word.. I'm talking about "money." The "M" bomb. The word pastors seem to confront their churches with only once in a great while - because it's risky. Well, I'm permittimg it to challenge me. And that's precisely what it has done.
    Think about it. There's so much nonsense that we as Americans (and me in particular) spend money on every day. I'm feeling so convicted by my tendencies of excess in many aspects of my life, that I'm still up at 2am writing this.
    As a couple, we're coming to grips with our finances, recently digging into Dave Ramsey's Bible-centered teaching on the subject. Budgeting, eliminating debt.. these actions will all make the dollars we've been entrusted with available for more sound investing - in God's Kingdom.
    Finally! I can see a road to real significance in my life. A legacy for my children.. and yours.. and theirs.
    It's a joy and a privilege to be a part of this. I'm honored to be asked.

    Will you (yes, YOU) please pray for us? Pray that we'll understand and agree on how much to give and how we're going to make it happen. Thanks!


  3. Dave,

    Please keep pressing on. Don't ever apologize or waver about talking to us about money and putting that money where our mouth is. The biggest enemy we have right now is hesitation, so don't worry about pushing us forward. Keep up the good fight!

    "There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat;
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures."

    --Shakespeare (Julius Ceaser Act 4, Sc. 3)

  4. Where we devote our time and money and other resources is merely a reflection of where our the passions of our hearts lie. I see it in my life more and more. Sometimes I like what I'm seeing and other times I see that I need to readjust my priorities. Ask for people's money and time -- the one's whose hearts are there will happily get on board.

    It reminds me of something you said a while back when you were speaking about God's plans for each of us. I'm probably butchering your comment, but you pointed out that so often we sit pondering "What is God's plan for my life?" When instead, maybe we should ask, "What are God's plans for not just me, but for the entire world, and how can I jump on board with Him??" It may seem like semantics at first, but I noticed as I put things in the second perspective, I am removing myself from the center of the universe and placing Him there instead.

  5. Dave,
    I'm a part of the Vineyard's "internet congregation" from the north end of I-71. I've shared in your celebrations for the last three years, or so, and have encouraged our local church leadership to also check in from time to time. We have been blessed and encouraged to see what the Vineyard has been doing, and some of us have attended SE seminars and the Outward Focused Church conference a couple years ago. We are a small (150) congregation, with the usual "not enough's", but we have finally learned to stop counting what we don't have, and give away what we do have - as long as we are doing what God calls us to do, we'll always be able to supply what the community needs.
    All this is to say that we are praying for your Luke 4 challenge, and are contemplating what we can do on the southwest side of the Cleveland area.
    I came to realize a while back that the only thing God "treasures" is the love of his people; so laying up treasure in Heaven is bringing Christ to the World. When we get to Heaven, our reward will be experiencing the love from all those who we may have touched along their way.
    Thanks Cincy! God Bless your "Treasure hunting!"

  6. I was not able to be at the Vineyard the Sunday you did the collection for the Luke 4 challenge. I was out of town with a group from the Vineyard and I knew what was going to happen. We were all so excited and eager to watch to Pod cast. As we sat listening to the message and the music we were crying, laughing, and wishing we were there. Other people actually came to our table and asked what we were watching and sat with us. The Holy Spirit is all over this thing and the people of the Vineyard community are so full of the spirit that I cry when I think about it. How exciting to be able to be involved in such a calling from God as a group and how exciting to be able to reach out to so many others through what the Luke 4 challenge is going to build. We are so blessed! By the way, I was watching and heard about a widowed lady with five children who was giving her only gift her husband given her and I started to weep so intensely that I could not control myself. That young woman is my sister, and I wept because it was seeing her strength, grace, faith, and love through this tragedy and in her life that brought me to Christ. God is so good!!