Getting Ahead: ‘Marbles in your cup’


I work in the church and non-profit world and I have seen how everyone seems to have to try to get their share of the yearly budget.

Budgets are a good thing because they can keep an organization with many and various parts functioning within their means. The budget allotment is usually set up on the previous year’s income.

Sometimes the mistake is made of factoring in an automatic increase which totally depends on the state of the economy. It is a pre-supposition that there will be an increase in the income for that particular corporation. When this happens another thing becomes inevitable. The department heads expect an increase in their budget so they make sure that everything that they have been allotted is used up by the time the new budget is set.

This has unfortunately become a common practice in many corporations and government-funded organizations. This practice has also moved into our private and personal lives. It is as if we feel it is our God-given right to have more.

While in elementary school we were taught that you can only get out what you put in. Our teacher took two cups, one having 10 marbles in it, the other was empty. She then took there marbles out of the cup of 10 and put them into the empty cup. We were then asked how many marbles were left in the cup that had previously contained 10. If I answered eight, I was wrong. Just because I said eight did not make it so.

In our personal and professional lives we are faced with seasons that may not be as prosperous as the one before. Sometimes this is our own doing and other times it is due to situations and circumstances beyond our control. It is in those seasons that we need to know the right answer. If three marbles have been removed from our cup of 10, why do we continue as if there are eight marbles left? Do you think that in these seasons it is possible to grow and prosper if we face the reality of what we have to work with? Is there a higher wisdom than that of using up our budget to get more of what is not there?

These and other life questions will be addressed Sunday morning as “The Gathering Place Family” meets in the Washington Junior High School Library for Bible Study at 9 and in the gymnasium at 10 a.m. for our Pre-Service Connection where we enjoy coffee, juice and donuts. Our Worship Service and Children’s Church then begins at 10:30. Come at 7 p.m. and be part of our Wednesday night Bible Study and Children’s Ministry on the third floor above Trends at 120 W. Court St. in Washington Court House.

By John G. Pfeifer

Religion Columnist