I never pass up a penny. At the end of the day I’ll take whatever change has been found while out or left over from purchases and collect them in a jar. When vacation time rolls around, all those coins are converted into cash and all of a sudden what did not seem like much adds up to a lot.
The overriding principle of the change jar simply says that small things, over time, add up and make a big impact. There are four laws of the change jar that apply to ministry.
- Small victories add up. Every pastor wants big victories; big baptism numbers, big Vacation Bible Schools, big increases in giving so big ministries for the kingdom can be done. It is easy to drift into the false idea that if the victory is not big, than it is not worth doing. Reality is, small victories are just as important as the big ones. Over time, small victories add up bringing incremental change in the life of the church.
- Small victories show up in unexpected places. Coins can be found on the floor at the supermarket, in the dryer, even under the floor mats of the car. Ministry victories can show up in unexpected places as well. When we narrowly define what a ministry victory is, then we cannot be divinely surprised when they come from unexpected places. A simple fisherman, becoming the rock of the church, is unexpected. A persecutor of Christians, becoming the greatest champion of Christians, is unexpected. God is in the business of showing up in unexpected places. Part of the pastor’s job is to look for those unexpected places.
- Small victories come in different sizes. Coins come in different sizes each holding a different value. Victories in ministry are the same. The drug addict who comes to faith is a big win. So is the man who has volunteered to serve after forty years of sitting in his pew. We need to learn to accept ministry victories in their various sizes.
- Celebrate the accumulation. One of the best things of keeping a change jar is spending the money in it. There is no guilt in paying for overpriced coffee when it comes from the change jar. In the church we need to celebrate the great things that God is doing in our peoples lives more often. The point of collecting victories is to celebrate them.
The law of the change jar says that small things add up over time to create big things. Ministry is the same way. Small kingdom victories add up over time to create big kingdom victories. Perhaps this why Paul reminds us to, “. . . not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up” (Gal. 6:9).