by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/7/14
Money. It is one of those subjects that Mrs. Manners told you not to talk about, along with religion and politics. Yet, in any congregation, the subject coalesces into an individual spiritual practice and a communal reality. What we do with our money, individually and collectively, matters to God.
That makes it all the more important that we get our words right. I have seen colleagues in ministry grin like a car salesman and promise untold wealth and an end to all of your problems if you would just give. Wrong. Tithing is not the secret formula for wealth, riches, and the perfect tan - it is the participation in God’s work in the world. Which makes me wonder about another way we talk about stewardship in the church, with a wince and an apology, as if fundraising were a necessary evil and not a living spiritual practice. We should ever apologize for inviting others into this kind of ministry. We can do better.
Henri Nouwen offers a fresh perspective on tithing as a spiritual practice. “From the perspective of the gospel…fundraising is a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission. Vision and mission so central to the life of God’s people that without vision we perish and without mission we lose our way.”
I believe that Highland Hills has a calling to be a place where families can grow. We are called to be a community of grace that guides others into their place of ministry in the family of God. I believe that vision is worth the investment of your whole life. I pray that you will find new ways to participate in that vision with the resources that God has already given you.