Take your paycheck, give 10% of it away, put 10% of it in the bank, and you’ll never have any money problems. That advice was given to me many years ago. The saving of money made some sense to me. The giving away didn’t How could giving money away help me? Yet I have found that giving money away helps me even more than saving money.
I’ve heard people say that the money they give to the church comes back to them, that somehow giving money actually creates more money for them. I can’t really say that my experience is the same. In my own life when I give 10% of my income away, it has meant that I have had 10% less money to live on. I haven’t gotten mysterious checks in the mail or had some windfall after I’ve given money away. Yet giving money away still has helped me even more than saving money.
Saving money helps me know that when something bad happens I have some reserves to apply, that if an emergency comes up I have something to draw on. It helps so much more than borrowing money to apply to the emergency which only results in me having to pay more in the long run. Saving money, in the long run, increases what I can actually spend. Giving money away decreases what I can spend. Yet giving money away still has helped me even more than saving money.
Because of my experience with money, I’ve found myself over the years urging people to give money away before they save money. The world tells us to save first and then grow into giving. Yet I find myself telling young couples to give money away first and later on learn to save. It may be even better to do both. But saving money still keeps my focus on money. Giving money away somehow takes the focus of my life off of money and puts it on something else, something higher.
Giving money away helps me become more generous. It helps me practice making a sacrifice. It helps me understand humility because it forces me to make due with less for myself. It helps me feel like I’m doing my part but it mainly helps me understand that I’m not really in charge of how things go in the world. Spending money, and saving money, increase my control over things. Giving away money makes me see that nothing at all is truly within my control, and allows me to become more accepting of my place in creation. It helps me learn that God provides what is truly needed. So much of our experience with money is in using it to accomplish something. Giving money away, truly giving it as a gift without strings attached, allows us to relinquish control.
This Sunday, November 4, is Pledge Sunday. The needs of the parish are real and your gifts will lead to some very good things. But the lessons on money begin with this: giving away helps us learn spiritual lessons; giving away helps me know the kingdom; giving away helps me know the mind of Christ who gave himself for us.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.
Pledge Cards are due Sunday, November 4
St. John’s encourages tithing, the giving of 10% of our financial resources to God’s work in the world through the Church. Please give prayerful consideration to increasing the percentage of your giving.
Daylight Savings Ends this Saturday Night
Set your clocks back one hour
Keeping in Touch with our Seminarian John Jenkins and His Family
St. John’s is sponsoring John Jenkins in the ordination process and he has begun his three year seminary studies at Sewanee. We all miss John and Bess and the kids, John Turner and Ellie. If you’d like to send them greetings or keep up with them you may reach John by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may reach Bess at email@example.com. Their mailing address is 373 Greens View Road, Sewanee, TN, 37375. John is doing very well in his studies so far. Bess is working in the admissions office at the University of the South. And all are enjoying the foggy “holy mountain”.
New Sunday School Classes Start November 11
The Crusades – Led by Robert Wisnewski, meeting in the Children’s Chapel
Current Themes of Theology – led by Daniel Cenci, meeting in the Library
Living the Good News Bible Discussion – led by Bob Canter and Avis Gunter, meeting in the Small Dining Room