If we have wrestled at all with the power money exerts in our lives and the lives of our people, it should not surprise us when God comes asking us to reclaim the matter of money as a vital issue of faith. To guide those we love and serve into a mature and faithful relationship with money …to connect its daily use with our theology and practice of faith …to nurture generosity toward God and others: these could be our greatest gifts and our most sacred responsibilities.
The church has truth that gives life; where else should our people turn? We can begin by engaging our own resistance to talking about money and giving. Not to overpower it by brute strength, but to discover what we will learn from it by staying where the wrestling can take place.
Can we discern our resistance? It might be that
- we fear conflict
- we aren't handling our own money as well as we'd like
- we feel we lack expertise
- we are angry about our compensation
- we feel judgmental toward others
- we seek approval
- we fear we will be seen as self-serving
- we don't have the energy
- we have unexamined attitudes going back to childhood
- we have our own unresolved security, possessiveness, or control issues
Seeing its face and knowing its name reveal its human proportions. We can dialogue with it. What might we say to it? What might it say to us? We can seek support. We can bring it into the light of God for healing. Like Jacob, we can say, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." A pastor and congregation able to talk about money are blessed. How blessed for a church to realize its ministry potential through the generous giving of its members.
This stewardship story is an excerpt from the Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine volume 8. Create an annual stewardship emphasis using this magazine's theme "Common Hope, Common Trust" using the magazine and accompanying theme materials.