At a church board meeting, I asked: “What if our church gave $10 to every family in our congregation and challenged them to use their creative abilities to multiply the money for God? Then in two months we can hold a celebration Sunday where everyone can share how they handled the $10 challenge.”
There was a long uncomfortable silence.
Jesus once said: “The Master called together his servants and gave them money to invest for him while he was gone. He gave five bags of gold to one, two bags of gold to another, and one bag of gold to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities—and then left on his trip.” (Matthew 25:14-15)
I sensed mental calculators throughout the room working overtime adding up the total cost of my crazy scheme: (approximately $4000.) The church board response was less than enthusiastic but taking a leap of faith (and a personal guarantee to make up any money lost) they reluctantly granted approval. Days later, a few leaders quietly pulled me aside and asked again: “Are you sure about this, Larry?
I honestly wasn’t sure how the “$10 Challenge” would work… but I knew God wanted us to do it.
“The servant who received the five bags of gold began immediately to invest the money and soon doubled it. The servant with two bags of gold also went right to work and doubled the money. But the servant who received the one bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money for safekeeping.” (Matthew 25:16-18)
Weeks later, near the end of Sunday worship, every family in our church received an envelope with $10 and instructions: “Suppose you were handed a $10 bill with a challenge to multiply and use it for God? What would you do? The Bible has a story about three servants who were given various amounts of money and told to manage it. Two servants invested wisely and returned a profit. One buried the money until time to give it back. The two wise servants were rewarded and the lazy servant was punished. The lesson: We are to invest God’s resources wisely.” (from Matthew 25:14-30)
“You are limited only by your talent and imagination. You can buy ingredients and bake bread or cookies. Offer to cook dinner for a busy family or buy gasoline for your lawn mower and cut someone’s grass. Instead of going out for lunch, brown bag and apply the savings. Pray for guidance and have faith God will supply an idea. In two months, we’ll have a celebration service to share what happened. We are going to have a great time and hear exciting stories. I pray you will have a story of your own.”
As people filed out of the sanctuary their reactions seemed mixed. A few were excited but many were concerned. “What can I do with $10? I don’t have any talents,” said one woman. One member laughed and said, “This is the only church that has ever handed me money.” Another, with a somber look said, “Larry, I come to church to escape stress not receive more. I don’t know what to do.”
“Pray!” I responded. “Pray.”
“What talents do I possess?” emailed Sue following the service. “I understand you don’t want me to hold the money. You want me to use it to help others and multiply my resources so many would benefit. Maybe our pastor is just plain crazy and it is a dumb idea but I know in my heart God is teaching me a valuable lesson. I am stressed out over what to do. I called a friend and told her about the $10 challenge. “What a great idea!” she said. “You’re a great cook so make cakes and sell them.”
“Dear Larry: After careful thought about what to do with the $10 challenge, I was stumped for a few days. I kept going back to the Scripture of the talents and couldn’t help but take the word “talent” literally. God has blessed and given me abilities and talents which I use to help others. I’ve been sewing since I was 12 and put “many miles” on my sewing machine. I designed and constructed costumes for the Dance Academy for years. I used my $10 to purchase thread and supplies for ballet costumes for 10 dancers and am happy to share my reward.” Joan
“Dear Pastor: I am so happy for words of encouragement and prayers I received from many people around the world. I found your site to keep my faith up because I was losing it. I was giving up but your words and the others gave me another opportunity. I am also glad because I found someone from a church in this village; a pastor from Canada and he has a small church so I am starting to study the Bible on Thursdays and on Sundays I go to the church. I thank you very much and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to find your site. God bless you.” Yadira
Click here to read the exciting conclusion to “The $10 Challenge.”