Beloved brothers and sisters
Greetings in our Lord’s exalted name
I write my first letter as treasurer with mixed feelings – great joy and excitement; fear and trembling. Great joy and excitement for the opportunity to serve and contribute to God’s Kingdom. Fear and trembling because of the huge responsibility entrusted to me. The responsibility is huge because I need to fit into the big shoes of Reji and all past treasurers who have raised the bar in their service to UESI. I appeal to you all reading this article – please commit to remember me in your prayers, in the coming days, if you haven’t already done so, that I would be faithful in this role and be pleasing to God. Will you?
What grabbed my attention and also many in Hyderabad last month was opening of IKEA, the multinational furniture stores, the first store in India at Hyderabad on Aug 9th. Video clips and news items showed that there was a stampede like situation on the first day. Stampede like situation to buy furniture? Yes, you heard it right! In this pleasure-driven age, as the newspapers put it, ‘to get a unique experience’ of the things displayed in the store (as of today the waiting time to visit the store is 2-3 hours). However, it was not just window shopping, the first day of its opening, IKEA made brisk sales of almost Rs one crore and the product that made highest sales was ‘mattresses’. Does it mean that thousands of Hyderabadis were without mattresses and were desperately looking to buy one? Absolutely not! The problem was not lack of mattress but much deeper. The Bible calls it covetousness, greed, lust and the likes. In economics this is termed as consumerism. Reji, my predecessor has written some thought provoking articles on consumerism. Well, consumerism can help a country grow its economic activity and its GDP but on a personal level, consumerism can drive a person to bankruptcy and a believer into spiritual bankruptcy, too.
What about us, do we run to IKEA stores, if not literally, in our hearts? Visiting IKEA is not wrong, buying the needed furniture is indeed good but if lust of the eyes and flesh drive you to spending, the Bible calls it sin (1 John 2:16). Consumerism and a Christian life simply cannot go together because consumerism will diminish your ability to give while a Christian is exhorted to give generously. Macedonian churches gave ‘beyond their ability’ and Paul used them as an example to encourage the church at Corinth so that they would excel in the grace of giving. A Church or a Christian can give according to their ability and beyond their ability when they take care not to get tainted with consumerism and materialism. Let us all take a moment and introspect this area of our life.
Below are details of the financial status of September 2018 (includes projected)
If you recollect last month the need was 71 lacs which has now grown to 81 lacs. Please also make note of the deficit number of around 16 lacs. Needless to say, this is a concern for all of us and while we don’t run to IKEA to spend lavishly, we run to God in prayer and can give lavishly to the Lord’s work.
Let us pray, share locally, participate individually as the Lord leads.
Yours in His Service