Comes from Jorge Claudio, writing as a guest blogger for Ed Stetzer. Jorge makes an interesting comparison between Pharaoh's dream that was interpreted by Joseph of the fat years followed by lean year and how Joseph lead the preparations for the lean years:
Similarly, God has put today's church in charge; God has given the church the responsibility of executing His plans in both: 'fat cows' and 'lean cows' times. But, does the church have the same attitude? Has the church performed like Joseph in preparation for times like these?
I respectfully believe that the church is not facing circumstances but rather, consequences. For generations the church has failed to be ready for times of limitations and scarcity. Somehow we have "conformed to this world" by acting like the world.
This is the United States of America. For many this is "a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (we praise the Lord for that). But, this is a land where society and culture has taught generations of people (including us and our children) about abundance, about the importance of having more, of having bigger, of just having. This is a land where leaders are elected based on economy, taxes, and jobs - translation: based on the impact in our pockets. This is a land where people have learned to live in the border of financial collapse and to be 'happy' with it. This is a land where churches (or church members) had somehow supported that lifestyle with the assumption that 'fat cows' will always be among us. Now the church lives the consequences of not being able to do more when needed, because the church was not prepared.
You see, in times when people (of all ages) are vulnerable, weak, confused and desperate, these would be GREAT times to expand ministries, but the church was not prepared for times like these. Instead of cutting, the church should be increasing counseling services, creating community support groups, providing emergency assistance, expanding Bible studies, planting new churches, etc., but the church was not prepared for times like these.
Personally, I believe that 'fat cows' will be back. But I wonder... Will the church be ready for the next cycle or will it miss yet another God-given opportunity?
This is a great analogy and a very sobering question. Not perfect by any means but I like what it has to say about the lack of vision in the church and the myopia that our cult of “my church” has created. When times are good and people are prosperous, the church responds by building more buildings, hiring more staff, investing in new audio visual equipment. When times are rough and people are hurting, the primary focus of the church is not on how to minister to those who are hurting but how to maintain the machinery of the church. What is tragic is not that church staff are losing their jobs, although that it is an individual hardship. What is truly tragic is that when times are bad, the church is not in a position to step up because it saw the fat years as an excuse to get fatter, not to be positioned for the lean years.