I’ve been working on a new program called God’s Guarantee that we are now ready to offer to churches around the country. Coy James and I are willing to promise churches that this program will increase giving by 10 percent, or we will return our fee.
What I’ve been looking for, though, is a gym that will give me that same guarantee: “Lose 10 percent of your weight, or we refund your membership fee.” Perhaps a therapist who will give me my money back if I’m still neurotic a year later. What about the apples I bought that weren’t nearly as crisp and sweet as they looked in the store? Shouldn’t I be able to get my money back even though I ate them? How about all those people whose drinks or dinner we bought thinking they were Mr. or Ms. Right? If we could get that money back with interest we could pay off our cars.
The point is, despite what we have named our new stewardship program, life rarely comes with guarantees. Every day we get up, put our money down, and take our chances. Even when it comes to God, the invitation is to have faith, not guarantees. Oh, there are a few things we can count on–gravity and grace–but, beyond that, it is pretty much a gamble … or faith.
We like guarantees, though. If people wouldn’t laugh at us we’d wear a belt and suspenders. We feel disappointed, even betrayed, when life doesn’t go the way we thought it would. I wonder how often God or Life has wanted to say, “Take out your contract. Now, just where are your happiness, health, hair, waist, love, and prosperity guaranteed?”
No, my friend, if you think you arrived here with a contract that promised you all your dreams would come true, you were swindled. We’ve all said, “It isn’t fair!” or, at least, we have resisted stomping our feet and saying it as adults. That hasn’t kept us from thinking it or feeling it.
Next time you are tempted to say those words, Google “starving children,” “homelessness,” or “muscular dystrophy,” then, with those images in front of you, try complaining about how your life hasn’t lived up to the guarantees you thought were yours.
Rev. Michael Piazza