Faithful or Foolish? God’s Money and a Paved Parking Lot

We are going to be inconvenienced this Sunday, but we’ll get over it. The main parking lot is closed for repaving and we’ll have to park on the street or in the chapel lot. We don’t like to be inconvenienced, but we’ll get over it.

So we are repaving the parking lots – both of them.  A week or so from now they are going to look great – clean, re-striped and well drained. None of us is going to miss the slushy ice rink in the winter or the weeds between the cracks in the summer. It will be worth the inconvenience.

But will it be worth the $130,000 of God’s money we’re spending on the project?

First things first.  Thanks to the Trustees, their wise planning and dedicated work, we may be saving as much as $100,000 on the project.  Good stewards, they.  Secondly, you may have noticed, that we did not do a “Pave the Lot” fundraising campaign. Again, thanks to the Trustees and their careful use of gifts large and small given over the years, the project will be paid out of savings specifically designated to capital improvement projects.

Okay, I get that. But really, $130,000 on a parking lot? Let’s put that into perspective. The same $130,000 might have:

  • provided a year of schooling for nearly 1,000 Guatemalan school children
  • equipped an operating room and a radiology lab at Kibuye Hope Hospital in Burundi
  • bought new desks, raised teacher salaries and provided scholarships at Hunting Park Christian Academy in North Philadelphia
  • funded two full-time college campus workers to build relationships with students through the Coalition for Christian Outreach.

But we bought a parking lot instead.

Without apologies, we bought a parking lot for our cars.

Some would argue that the church should be about the things of the Kingdom – spiritual things, and in case you haven’t noticed, parking lots aren’t very spiritual. But in and of themselves, neither are backpacks and pencils, tuition payments and teachers’ salaries particularly spiritual. Operating rooms and x-ray machines have no inherent Kingdom value. A caring relationship with a lonely student is not necessarily godly. But in a classroom where the gospel is lived out or in a hospital where prayer is part of every procedure; in a relationship that points to Jesus and with a teacher who is in her or his classroom – in Burundi or Guatemala, North Philadelphia or Neshaminy – because she or he once said, “Here I am, Lord, send me,” there the Holy Spirit works mightily.

Parking lots have no inherent Kingdom value. Casinos and porn parlors have parking lots. But a parking lot that allows folks to gather to worship the Living God, to grow through Bible study, to connect in faith-sustaining fellowship, to serve a hurting world and to share Good News with the hungry and the hopeless – that parking lot can be used for great Kingdom good.

To allow that parking lot to be filled with icy muck in the winter and become a thriving weed patch in the summer is not good stewardship of something intended for Kingdom good.

So, thank you, Trustees, for the new parking lot. We’ll get over the inconvenience. But, LPC folks, let be sure that we use the lots for what they are intended – to worship, grow, connect, serve and share. To the glory of God alone – soli deo gloria