I was raised in a Southern Baptist Church, and that meant every year as the end of the fiscal year approached, we had a pledge drive. Sermons focused on tithing, budgets were discussed and approved, and since any valid budget needs a fairly accurate estimate of income, pledge cards were passed out. Members of the church were asked to fill out a card promising to give a certain amount of money each week, month, or year, and on “Pledge Sunday” everyone placed their cards in the offering plate. The pledges were not binding. No one called or sent Luigi to your house if you fell behind, but I’m sure the hope was that by signing their names, members would feel somewhat spiritually bound and would be more faithful in their tithes and offerings.
When I was eight years old, I made a public profession of having accepted Jesus as my Savior and was baptized. This made me a full-fledged member of the church. I was a fairly serious child, and I apparently decided that membership carries with it not only privileges but also responsibilities. As Pledge Sunday approached, I got hold of a pledge card, probably from the pocket on the pew in front of me that held visitors cards, offering envelopes, and other pieces of necessary information. I carefully filled in my name and considered my financial situation. (more…)