What we do with our money is what we do with our life.
February 27, 2018 by Steven Wirth
When Kennon Callahan, founder and president of National Institute for Church Planning and Consultation, said this during a workshop, I pretty much missed everything else he said for a bit. That simple concept so struck me! You can also turn it around, “What we do with our life is what we do with our money.” Either way it calls us to take stock and change our practices if we want a life that matters. If we want to grow and develop into the faithful disciples of Christ that God wants us to be, we must take seriously what we do with our money.
That means we take seriously how we build our financial resources; how we invest our resources; how we spend our resources; as well as how we give our resources away. Growing our business is growing our lives. When I looked at my life as a pastor, I was still living a life of scarcity that comes, perhaps, from years of college and seminary and not having extra cash. But, I had left that phase, had a solid call in ministry, my spouse was working, we had disposable income, yet I was still holding on to every penny as if it were my last. (I also have a stoic, German father and thrifty, Scotch grandmother, both of whose voices continued to echo in my head.) Maybe it was time, I thought, to really think about the kind of life I wanted to lead apart from work.
Callahan’s words set me off on a spiritual journey of mission and generosity. I realized that the mission of Jesus Christ was more important than money and that my giving needed to reflect that. My wife and I decided to tithe even though we couldn’t figure out how that would work. We picked a small group of causes and charities that we wanted to support. Over the years we have discovered that if our hearts are in mission, then money takes its rightful place.
I believe that we have created a life of generosity and have watched our small gifts add up over time. We have made close and deep friendships. We have watched our gifts flow through the church and agencies to change hearts and lives and make a difference for Christ. All because we took our money seriously.
Friends, as you read this Stewardship newsletter, realize that it is not about money. It is about changing hearts and lives. Stewardship is interchangeable in my mind with discipleship. What we do with our money is what we do with our lives. Following Christ means giving to Christ’s mission. They can’t be separated.
Where is your heart this day? Have family stresses or business struggles taxed your spirit? Are you worried about the future? Do the world’s problems overwhelm you? The best remedy, I’ve found, is to give something away. Giving releases the world’s power over us. As soon as you let go of something it ceases to have power over you.
I’ll close with a few other thoughts from Callahan’s book, “Twelve Keys for Living”
The love of God is renewing.
The power of God is astonishing.
The grace of God is amazing.
The purpose of God is moving.
The hope of God overcomes all.
God values you and your life.
Thanks be to God.