Each one of us has a money story. I do, and recently I’ve spent some time thinking about and “writing” my personal money story. My particular story, like each of yours, has all the important parts of a good story:
- a setting
- a cast of characters
- a plot
- a certain tone
- and an overall theme
As I said, each of us has a personal money story. Our stories are unique to us, although there may be elements of our story that a common to many. Perhaps we are living from a story of fear or shame or guilt. Or a story that our actions won’t have an impact. Or a story that we don’t have enough. Where might God be speaking a new narrative into the limited ones we’ve told ourselves?
Often, to speak of money is to invite tension into the room. We so quickly want to avoid it. I know for a fact that a lot of clergy do everything they can to avoid the topic of money! But it’s quite possible to reframe this. Money and possessions are one of the most common topics in Scripture, and Jesus talked about money more than faith and prayer! So, here’s a fact: our money story is a spiritual story.
Did you know that our church has its own money story? It’s true! A short while ago I sat down with members of our Finance-Stewardship Committee and spent some time reviewing and remembering the long money story of Port Huron First United Methodist Church. To be sure, our congregation’s money story has its ups and downs. For example, on the upside, we paid off the mortgage for the construction of the portico/gathering area early and, in doing so, saved ourselves hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the downside, we recalled a period of time when giving drastically decreased and we had the make the difficult decision to let some of our staff go. These are just two examples of our church’s money story.
Well, it shouldn’t come as a shock to you that God has a money story as well. God’s money story is one of healing and liberation and grace. The goal of every Christian is to try to align our own money stories with God’s money story. The good news is that God is in the business of redeeming the broken and hurtful parts of our own money stories. Where our giving is currently marked by fear and distrust, God can change that to one of joy and trust.
During October, we will be having our fall stewardship campaign. You’ve probably already figured out the name of this campaign: “Our Money Story.” The campaign will last four weeks, concluding with Consecration Sunday on October 24, when estimate of giving cards will be brought forward. More will be said about this campaign in the weeks ahead.