In her book, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources, author Lynne Twist, writes, “The word wealthy has its roots in well-being and is meant to connote not only large amounts of money but also a rich and satisfying life.” With this in mind, we do not have to be financially rich by the definition of our consumer culture to be wealthy. With basic needs met, we can be wealthy in friendship, in the beauty of nature, in the smells from a home-cooked meal. With basic needs met, we can be wealthy in sharing what we have with our neighbors. Our lives can be rich and satisfying. Those of us who have more than our basic needs met are wealthy as we remember that well-being is not all about money. In our sharing we discover again and again that we are part of God’s beloved people to whom God has given all creation and all manner of grace, abundance, love and forgiveness.
It is easy to talk about the wealth we have been given in sunsets, in friends and loved ones, in the joy of community. It is tough to talk about the wealth we have been given in money. When we introduce the word “money,” along comes the emotions of competition, scarcity thinking, shame, not being enough. I urge you this stewardship campaign season to let these emotions go as quickly as you can when you consider money and your generosity. Let them simply drain away, knowing that is you really need them they will always return.
Instead think of your money as soul power. Let it stand for who you are, what you believe, and what you hold most dear. Money, like water, has the power to create, sustain, and nourish when it flows freely from one to another. It stagnates when it is hoarded. As Lynne Twist writes, “Money becomes a currency of love and commitment , expressing the best of who you are, rather than a currency of consumption driven by emptiness and lack and the allure of external messages.” Money grounds us and puts power behind our commitments. It can be the great translator of intention to reality, vision to fulfillment. Jesus said it and it is still true, “Our hearts follow our money: where your treasure is there is your heart also.”
No matter whether your bank account covers basic needs, just a bit more, or a whole lot more, you are wealthy in the love of God in Christ, in the beauty of creation, in the sustenance of this church community. As you consider your pledge to the 2019 budget that will fund our ministry for God in the coming year, let your money be a source of soul power for you. Give the few pennies, dollars that you can as a way to join with God in making God’s intentions reality in the world through Plymouth. Jesus treasured the widow’s mite. If you are so blessed, give the many dollars that you can to join with God and your fellow Christians in making God’s intentions reality in the world through Plymouth.
May our money not be a source of anxiety, may it be a source joyful power through which we give thanks to God by living the most generous lives of well-being possible.
Blessings on the journey,
P.S If you missed "Grateful: A Love Song to the World" (the video Stewardship showed during worship on Sunday, October 14), or if you just want to dance to it again, you can view it here.
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate, Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Learn more about Jane Ann here.