Rector's Blog: When Your Money Matters
First and foremost, everything we do as the Church is oriented in the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. We’re talking about money, of course. I’ve been writing about money for the last few weeks, and I’m not done yet! But I want to remind you of the core of what I said last week, to remind you of the foundation of all the work of the church. The work, the life, the being of the Church is rooted and grounded in the almighty love of Jesus. And as I wrote last week, this matters even when we talk about money.
It matters because, well, if Love is the core of our existence, there is no aspect of our life it doesn’t affect. When we orient our relationship with money in the relationship of unconditional love we share with God, we allow love to transform money: to take it out of the realm of the secular and make it an instrument of blessing in the life of the beloved community to which we belong. Then all our giving to the Church and to the world becomes a holy, life-giving gift. We don’t give so that we can be loved: We give as an act of love towards the community of God to which we belong. This is our starting point.
With this love as our foundation, we need to understand how and why your financial commitment matters – to your church and to you.
Last week I recounted the time I said to a clergy mentor, “I just don’t know how I’m going to talk to people about money, how I’m going to be able to ask them to give to the Church.” What I didn’t tell you was his response. He immediately said, “When you believe in the work your church is doing, and you believe that their giving matters, you’ll have no problem at all talking about money.” I didn’t believe him. He was totally right.
Your contribution makes a difference. Every single financial gift we receive makes an impact on the work of our church. Every gift of every size and type changes who we are and facilitates blessing. Sometimes we worry that our gift isn’t “big enough to matter”, or that it won’t be “the right amount”. If we’re in a cynical mood we might say, “Redeemer doesn’t need my money.” None of these things are true, and none of them are consistent with my experience of budgeting for a church. When you give any amount, you directly fund the salaries of the people who facilitate the powerful ministries of this church. You directly fund the programs, classes, and worship experiences that help to form your spiritual life and the spiritual lives of those you love. Your gift isn’t squirreled away or squandered: It’s used every year to build the church you love.
Redeemer is a non-profit organization that provides programs, platforms, places, and opportunities for people to be blessed and to bless. Every single dollar is used in service of creating a Christian community that has a loving, transforming impact on this world. Your gift changes lives.
Your commitment makes a difference. It’s not just the fact of the gift that matters – although it does matter. When you pledge to give to the Church, you are making a financial commitment that impacts your budget, affects other aspects of your life, and changes the way you understand your relationship to your church. Your personal budget is a moral document that tells you what you value. For instance, housing and food usually take up the biggest portion of our budgets because food and shelter are essential to our lives. Likewise, when you make a space for the Church in your budget, you are testifying to yourself the importance of this community to your life. When you give money to the Church that could’ve gone to something else, you are recognizing Redeemer’s place in your understanding of who you are.
Your contribution makes a difference to your church. Every single gift counts. Every single dollar facilitates blessing and changes lives. Your giving matters. It changes lives. Your financial commitment for the year makes a difference in your own life. The decision to make the Church a priority in your life and in your budget will change the way you live and transform your understanding of God’s presence in your life. Your gift blesses others. Your commitment blesses you. This act of blessing and being blessed within a beloved community does nothing less than transform your understanding of the power you have to make a difference in your church, in your city, in your life, in your world.
I love talking with you about money because I believe in the work our church is doing, and I believe that your commitment to give is a loving act of participation in that work – one that changes all our lives in Jesus’ name.