True or False: Churches talk too much about money.
What do you think?
Fact: Jesus talked a lot about money!
Sixteen of Jesus’ thirty-eight recorded parables deal with our attitudes and responsibilities toward money and possessions. Unfortunately, when churches do talk about money, we often fail to connect our money-talk with the relevant
financial issues of our personal money-walk! When Jesus spoke about money, he connected with people’s felt need for financial freedom. He focused not on how to get more, but on how to live free of the burdens of debt, and the unbridled desire for more or better. Instead, he pointed people to the wise and beneficial use of our assets to further reveal the presence, and reflect the priorities, of God’s kingdom.
True or False: Churched people don’t like to give.
What do you think?
Fact: On average, active members of churches contribute “the bulk of disaster recovery” through volunteer efforts and financial giving.
A USA Today article from two years ago noted that “about 75% of the organizations that are part of the [National VOAD] alliance are faith based.” As we read stories of heartbreak and loss in the Bahamas or Houston following hurricanes and tropical storms, the reality is that “religious institutions [are] vital in responding to disasters." By some estimates, people of faith give three
to four times as much as non-churched persons to charitable causes, including their churches – especially in the wake of natural disasters — and they remain in the communities hardest hit for years to continue the rebuilding and recovery. Why? Because we realize that we are created in the image of God, who’s nature is to give generously and sacrificially in the face of need. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16).
We all have financial worries and even fears: mortgage payments, paying for college, saving for retirement, paying off debt, the rising cost of medical care, and the list goes on. And, every one of us is powerfully and seductively influenced by the materialism of our culture and the profoundly alluring siren
song to have more. Let’s face it, money matters – and we need to be talking about it as followers of Jesus Christ. We need to allow the searching light of God’s Spirit to penetrate our walls of resistance and our fortresses of fear.
When it comes to money and faith, When it comes to money and faith, it all
begins with our consecration: what are we devoted to? Consecration is an old fashioned word that means devoting ourselves fully to God. The issue is not how much we give, it’s realizing that all we have comes from God. Do we acknowledge that it all belongs to God? In the weeks leading up to our Consecration Sunday, October 27, we will hear about personal choices and decisions, along with the personal struggles that most of us have, that go into fully consecrating ourselves, our stuff, and our money to God. Stewardship is
not about fund-raising for the church but about faith-raising for we who are followers of Jesus.
So, as Christ’s follower, would you do three things? First, pray for God’s guidance and blessing as you recommit your finances and possessions to God (2 Corinthians 8:4-5); second, make plans to attend worship on the October Sundays you are in town; and third, trust God for your present and your future,
even as together we trust God for the future of LUMC and our mission to “Make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world."