About Direct Deposit, Pixies, and Jai Alai.

I’m not sure who the guy was who came up with routing numbers, but I’d kiss him on the mouth if I met him. Even if he’s like 95 years old and a smoker, with an unkempt handlebar mustache.

It’s like an entire clan of magical pixies met up at a conference that just happened to be next door to a bank, and the result was a way for me to get money out of the bank without even going into it. Pure magic, I say.

The real power of the routing numbers, (other than their affiliation with mythical creatures of Celtic folklore) is the fact that I can be assured that Jon and Sarah McMinistrypartner are actually on time with their gift, every single month.

If you’ve never had to raise support for an extended period of time (your trip to the Sudan doesn’t count unless you were there for a year), let me try and explain it to you this way: imagine not knowing the exact date that your employer would pay you. Every day is an emotional Jai Alai match, where you get the exhilaration of playing, but are just one step away from catching a ball at 115 MPH in the face. In this confusing metaphor, the face-ball is the news that you didn’t get a check today. And to completely derail the (metaphorical) metaphor train, it’s like playing Jai Alai with dozens of balls, one for each ministry partner who is giving without direct deposit.

On Wednesday I’ll post my even-funnier list of things in my life that I wish were direct-deposited. But today, I’ve created the following list of ways to know if you need to direct deposit your gift to a missionary. Read, comment, enjoy:

If you majored in the Liberal Arts.
This is Ben, in a glass house with a pocket full of rocks, but seriously folks, we liberal arts types are not suited for organization, or efficiency. If you had to do two lab reports during your entire college career, and one of them was for Botany 101, you might be an ideal candidate for direct deposit. If your only access to an excel spreadsheet was in an “Intro to Computing” course that you took your senior year to fill up space, you might want to leave the organizational skills and ability to remember to write a check every month to somebody else, no matter how much you want to pray every time you write the check.

If you can’t find your checkbook
I have no idea where my checkbook is right now. My wife, on the other hand, could probably find 15 checkbooks in the next five minutes with 3 different addresses represented (we like to move every couple of weeks to keep things interesting). She could get away with writing a check to support a ministry. I need to direct deposit, or it’s just not going to happen. Unless you are married to my wife, you should direct deposit. Wait, that came out wrong.

If your idea of planning ahead involves scribbling things on your hand
True confessions: for the first year (at least) of my ministry career I didn’t take anything with me to staff meetings. No paper, no pencil, no pen, and certainly no electronic device other than my trusty-but-terrible Samsung flip phone. I was fine with getting stuff done, eventually. If your idea of planning ahead, like mine, is to promise to remember to get to it later, you’re an ideal candidate for an auto-draft from your checking account.

This is probably going to be a topic I revisit, but for now I’ll stop. What say you, reader? Why do/don’t you direct deposit things? Chime in in that area below labeled “comments.”

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