Thursday, April 3, 2008

Money

One of the biggest hurdles many people have in life is that of money. We see that in the world today, as we hear of recession, foreclosures, and people struggling to make it day-to-day. And I also hear of people who have issues with the church because, they say, "All the church wants is my money."

Money is one of the major factors in relationships - sometimes a factor so great that it brings relationships to an end. It is something we all have to deal with, so the question is - how do we deal with this touchy subject and do so in a healthy way?

When I think of money, both in the church and in my own life, I think of it in terms of stewardship. We are blessed in many ways, and one of the ways we are blessed is with what we have - our goods, our time, and our treasures (money). Our calling is to find ways to use these blessings in the best possible way.

And with that in mind, I really have no problem talking about financial issues in the church, and there are two reasons for this. First, God talked about money issues throughout scripture. It is actually the number one thing that Jesus talked about in his ministry. God knows that our heart is where we put our treasure - we value the things that we invest in. Second, it takes money to make the church run. We, as the Body of Christ, have expenses to do the ministries that we need to do in order to reach out with the gospel message.

So we go back to the question - how can we be the best stewards possible of everything we have been given? I think this requires us to go back to the basics, look at what we have been given, and find ways to use our gifts, all our gifts in the best possible way.

One of the ways the church can help with this is education. Here is a little plug for a new ministry. We are starting a minsitry called "Good $ense." This ministry is designed to help find ways to honor God and the gifts we have been given by becoming a diligent earner, generous giver, wise saver, cautious debtor, and prudent consumer. The course will be on Saturdays starting April 12, from 10-11 am. Please let me know if you want to take the course, as there is some pre-work to do. There is no cost for the course.

Okay, enough of the plug.

As I spend more time meeting with people and discovering where they are on their faith journey, I keep seeing the struggles many people face. When we work together, when we share our gifts, we grow in ways of helping others and facing the struggles we face with others. This is what it means to be part of the body, part of the church. We are not in this alone, we have God and our brothers and sisters walking with us, giving us the support we need, and empowering us to share our gifts with others.

So what struggles are you facing today, and how can this great body help you as you go through them?

2 comments:

amyjany22 said...

i think that money is hard to deal with and being a college student i see the struggles. i am also fortunate enough that i can focus on school because my parents are helping me, but i do see their problems too. i think the most important thing to remember is that yes we need money in this world, but we need God more. He is the one that grants us these material things and like we say in church 'everything in heaven and earth belongs to You.' we can get wrapped up in the materialistic world, but i firmly believe that putting faith in God will help you get through the anything. you just got to have faith and i do know that is easier said than done, but i believe anyhing is possible with God.

Betty Dygart said...

To me, money is nothing more than a tool, like your snow shovel or garden hoe. It is to be used to make your life function more smoothly. It is not, in and of itself, of any real value, although many see it as such. In all cases, it is not to be hoarded, as if you will someday run out of it.

Of course, there are some who have no money, and for them the story is very different. They might become hoarders. I think many of the older people today, whose families lived through the Great Depression, were scarred by that experience, and some may never feel "safe" without some extra money hidden away. Some still don't trust banks, and keep their money under mattresses or in old socks. That fear goes all the way back to 1929.

Fear. Doesn't it really all come back to fear? We want to be safe. We don't want our family to do without, to be hungry, to feel "poor."

And, nowdays, there are more and more material things that people feel they "must have." They must have them so that they can feel "in the right crowd." To be part of the "in crowd" you must wear certain clothes, eat certain foods at certain places, be ready to spend your money for various entertainments, be seen with and by the "right" people.

It all makes me tired.

How much easier it is to please oneself. To ask yourself, "What will make me happy right now and what would God have me do?" is very empowering. At the same time, it is comforting, because God already accepts you as you are. All you have to do is to use whatever gifts you have, including money, to fulfill your relationship with Him. He expects nothing more and nothing less.