The great investment of sound priorities

Published 9:55 pm Monday, March 20, 2017

By Joseph L. Bass

Recently I attended a workshop dealing with church stewardship.

Stewardship involves careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. For example, stewardship of natural resources includes careful and responsible management of what has been provided for us in nature.

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Stewardship also involves providing money and/or time in support of something for which a person feels responsibility. As pointed out in the workshop, many do not recognize that how they spend their time and money reflects their priorities.

The amount of money donated to a church reflects how highly people value the church in their lives. A family that gives 10 percent of gross income (a tithe) indicates it places greater importance on the church than a family that gives 1 percent. The family that donates 1 percent expresses its values by spending their money on priorities other than church.

But another element of the workshop went beyond these points. It involved how some people do not make good decisions regarding their money, time and priorities. By not assessing their priorities and making good decisions, they end up in crippling debt, and slowly, but surely, their personal lives and their family’s life crumble and disintegrate.

The focus of this lesson supported the idea that churches should help families schedule appointments with counselors experienced in helping people assess their priorities and make better decisions so they can become careful and responsible managers of their lives.

A visual aid showed a man running across a park dragging three weights behind him attached to a harness on his shoulders. He could easily run across the grass. But after weight after weight was added, eventually he could not move at all. In frustration, he tried again and again but made no progress. After his fruitless efforts, he eventually broke down.

This lesson involved people who do not assess their priorities and then burden their families with self-inflicted crippling debt, resulting in emotional injuries that could have been avoided.

Adults in such families do not carefully and responsibly manage their family affairs, and all suffer. Churches should have programs for putting such families in contact with counselors trained and experienced in helping families assess their temporal and financial priorities.

It takes a village to raise a child, but the most important players in doing so are the father and mother who effectively assess their priorities and make sound decisions on how they spend their time and money.

Adults who do not do this eventually become a burden on their children, their church and their community.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at