A LEGO person drinks from a teeny-tiny LEGO cup. Itty-bitty garbage trucks pick up trash as a little LEGO police officer chats with a LEGO citizen. A teensy LEGO construction worker uses a cute jackhammer to fix the LEGO road. What does all this have do with city budgeting?
Jay Warren, Director of Communication and Legislative Affairs for the city of Arlington, Texas, loves LEGO bricks. He has built a LEGO city over several tabletops in his game room. “It’s a hobby,” Mr. Warren tells NBC DFW, “one that I’ve had since I was a kid.” Now all grown up, Mr. Warren’s job is to explain to Arlingtonians how the city spends the dollars they pay in taxes.
City videographers stopped in at Mr. Warren’s house. They found the LEGO city ready for filming. They used stop motion animation to make a four-and-a-half-minute LEGO video explaining the city budget.
“I love my city,” says a LEGO woman in the video. While she speaks, we get views of Mr. Warren’s LEGO city: streets, cars, buildings, a playground with flowers and trees, a café, the inside of a library, and more. “It has great parks for my kids, safe neighborhoods with friendly people, good libraries, and smooth roads.” Then Ms. LEGO asks, “How does all that get done?”
“Good question,” answers a LEGO man. “Keeping a city running takes a lot of work, and it starts with the annual budget. Just like with LEGOs, the parts of the city’s budget come in a lot of shapes, sizes, and colors . . . .”
Why budget? Money is hard to earn and easy to spend. Keeping careful track of it helps it go further. Plus, God cares about how we use money. He owns all the wealth in the world, and entrusts nations, states, cities, families, and individuals with just a little of His treasure. Their job is to steward what He has given in a way that blesses others and gives Him glory.
Good budgeters track where every dollar goes. A national budget decides how much money in taxes will be collected. It designates how much will go to the military for people’s protection, how much will be spent on highways and hospitals, and how much will support people in need. States budget for schools, hospitals, roads, police, courts, and housing. Families budget for electricity, heat, internet, food, giving, clothes, insurance, cars, house payments or rent, medical services, education, vacations, savings . . . and much more. Remember: God doesn’t give us things mainly so we can have them. He gives to us so we can share with others—just like He does with us.
What does a city budget have to include? The video shows: clean water, trash pickup, police, firefighters, road work, and more. Now that’s fun budgeting!
Why? Budgeting matters for citizenship on Earth and in heaven. God cares about how we steward what He entrusts to us.