Money Messages

On this All Saints Day, I give special thanks to the saints who have given sacrificially so that the Church could do its work in the world sharing hope in Christ, providing for those in need, and making the world a bit more on earth as it is in heaven. You know who you are. Thank you.

Suze Orman tells a story of her father’s business being – literally – on fire and yet he ran into the office to retrieve the metal cash register in the thick of the flames. Message: we risk our lives for the sake of finances.

All of us grew up with money stories:

We’ll always be in debt because Uncle Bud lost the farm.

Everybody who’s anybody carries credit card debt.

Your grandmother will bail you out.

People with money work harder than people without money.

Honest disclosure: my wonderful Dad told me many times in my life that the day he and Mom learned they were expecting me they had a nickel in their pockets. The message I grew up with was that I better show the world that I was worth having. The message I carry now is that we have all come a long way and thanks be to God.

Consider the money messages we hear in our houses of faith:

We don’t have the funds to give our staff a raise (when there are millions in the endowment.)

We can either patch the roof or hire a nursery worker (when it’s possible to do both if we really want to. Sadly the roof usually wins.)

We can save money by hiring Ms. Jones’ son to replace our windows (even though Ms. Jones’ son is a barber by trade.)

We can only afford a part-time pastor (forgetting we could share a pastor with another church and bolster the ministry of two congregations.)

We have to keep The _____ Family happy or they’ll leave the church and take all their money with them.

That last message is a classic and chances are that the family who threatens to leave and take their money with them is 1) not contributing as much as everyone imagines and 2) less interested in glorifying God than maintaining power.

We have enough. We have enough to fulfill our calling to serve God and others if we are willing to consider new stories:

Maybe the congregation that “can’t give any more” can actually a little dig deeper when they have relationships with those they are able to serve.

Maybe the church that never participates in community mission find itself regenerated by new relationships with their local school or fire department.

Maybe there are neighbors who are not interested in joining your congregation but they admire what you do in Haiti every spring, and they want to contribute too.

The Bible is filled with stories about having enough and being enough to make a difference. On this day when we remember the saints, consider who has made a difference in your congregation, in your personal life, in your town. They are often not the ones we expected.

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