The Tent Village Storehouse
“What is that?”
Ever since becoming a Tent Villager, I had enjoyed not just the warm sense of community but also the sense of belonging and the nobility of joint purpose. Later I learned to appreciate the Village’s rich history and the contributions of its Founders. Now I was getting interested in how it worked, and especially how it had lasted so long. On one of my walks I noticed it for the first time … a sturdy wooden storehouse. What was it for? One of the Village Elders explained to me, “That is to ensure the future of the Village. It contains supplies and treasure that we will need in our future years. We spend needed money and supplies to keep the Village going today, but we’ve also been saving to build up the supplies and money in the Village Storehouse. We call it The Endowment.”
Villager Brian explained it to me further. “Even though there aren’t as many contributing Villagers now as there were in the Early Years, the Endowment Storehouse will provide the resources we need to keep the Village going even with a smaller Tent population. That is, once we build up the Endowment Storehouse to two million tent poles.” “How much is in it now?” I asked. He replied “Only about a fifth of that.” He quickly added, “But it will grow. And we encourage folks who depart the Village to leave a gift for it.”
He started to go into detail on the Tent Village Future Years Financial Plan. I was impressed by both the Plan and his faithful confidence. As he was explaining, I looked up and saw some villagers enter the Storehouse. Within minutes they came back out carrying armfuls of supplies, including a LOT of the tent poles. Seeing me watching them, one of them explained “We need this to repair the north wall and to get ready for the next …” They went on for a few minutes with a litany of worthy activities and needed repairs. “Villager contributions supply most of what we need, of course, but it just isn’t enough to cover it all. So we get the rest of what we need from the Storehouse.” I thanked them for the explanation. They smiled back and went on their way.
Brian had witnessed this entire exchange. I asked him, “How can we build the Endowment Storehouse up to two million if we regularly take so much of it to meet current needs? Won’t that shrink the Endowment instead of growing it?”
His facial expression changed to one of quiet concern.“Yeah, it’s a problem.”
Indeed, it is a problem. Just like our fabled Tent Villagers, we at Prince of Peace undertake a host of worthy activities and have needed repairs, like replacing our aging sanctuary air conditioning system. Thanks to the generosity of some of our Villagers, we didn’t have to tap the Storehouse for that. But the list of worthy things that we spend money on is still long. The sum of total expenses exceeds our annual contributed income.
Is it wise stewardship if we regularly raid the Endowment Storehouse? How will we provide for future Prince of Peace generations if we do that? Can we reduce spending so we don’t have to raid the storehouse? Look around at our beautiful campus. Bathrooms that need cleaning, trees and plants that need watering, paper that must be purchased. Do you see something that we should spend less money on?What worthy cause should be sacrificed in the name of wise stewardship?
Jesus has called us to be wise stewards over the wonderful church community that God has given us.
And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.”–Matthew 25:20-21 English Standard Version (ESV)