I don’t know about you, but most people I know including yours truly, struggle to avoid the temptation of a hot apple pie sitting on the kitchen counter when it’s just out of the oven. Especially if someone tells us there’s some Blue Bell ice cream and whipped cream in the refrigerator, too. There’s just something about it that’s incredibly irresistible, and somehow we end up succumbing to the temptation to take a piece, adding a couple of scoops (or more) of ice cream, even adding a swirl of whipped cream on top. And then, we “can’t believe we ate the whole thing.” Can I get a witness? Thought so.
The same thing happens when it comes to our money. I call it the “apple pie effect.” There’s something about having money in our wallet, purse, checkbook, bank account, or even lying on a counter somewhere in our home that creates an irresistible temptation to take it and spend it somewhere … on something. And without too much resistance or regret we get to the end of the week or month and find ourselves, once again, with too little money, wondering, “what happened?” It’s the “apple pie effect.” And guess who almost always winds up shortchanged by our shortsightedness? God and the Church.
We want to tithe/give. We intend to tithe/give. We think about it. Pray about it. Even make plans to make next week or next month different. But, you know what happens. Like hot apple pie on the counter, screaming your name and calling for you to come and just enjoy the flavor of an innocent smell … without warning, a plate magically appears on the counter along with a knife and fork. And without so much as the blink of an eye, a piece of hot apple pie appears on your plate.
Guess who almost always winds up shortchanged by our shortsightedness? God and the church.
So what can we do to counteract this “counter act,” whether you’re talking about actual apple pie or the money we keep promising to give back to God? The best remedy I know is to set up online giving through your bank. Most financial institutions make it simple to set up a new merchant account. You can set up the amount you want sent to your church, as well as the day you want the transaction to take place. In a matter of minutes, you can set it up where your tithe and offerings are sent to Crossroads every week. Automatically. Janis and I set up our online giving where our tithe and offerings are sent to Crossroads every Friday. It’s simple, and it’s the first entry every week - God literally comes first at our house.
Then when we come to worship on Sundays we give again. Every week its another $20 or more. The amount is not the issue since we’ve already made sure our tithe and offerings are sent to Crossroads each week. What’s really rewarding is this is one area in our lives where obedience to God is automatic for us. We don’t have to worry about not having enough money at the end of the week, or the end of the month, to give to God because we give to Him first. We have also set up online saving (just like our online giving) where a certain amount is sent to The Solomon Foundation each week for our family. In fact, we asked our friends at The Solomon Foundation to set it up where the amount goes to them via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), so the amount we send is there the same day and we begin earning interest on it immediately.
I’m so thankful technology makes it easy to stay on track with our giving and saving and I want to encourage you, if you haven’t already done so, to check out online giving and saving for you and your family. You’ll be glad you did and soon you’ll be encouraging every one you know to do the same.
When you do, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it before now and you’ll want to celebrate. When you do, may I suggest some apple pie?
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
© 2018. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.