Pledging as a Spiritual Practice or Does God really need my money?

It’s been a deep joy to move through one more stewardship campaign with you this past month. The stories of how St. Paul’s has been a source of Living Water moved me to tears and laughter more than once. Thank you to everyone who participated, hosted parties, helped out, shared stories and asked questions. Thank you to our committee, to Elaine our chair, and to our hard working staff who made it all possible. And finally, thank you to Dean Penny for her continued inspiration and energy–Living Water all.

Sunday morning we brought our pledges forward to support our mutual mission and ministry in the coming year. You’ve heard from Dean Penny talk about the exciting prospects for 2015 as we seek to expand our Children, Youth and Family ministry, our pastoral care and develop our music program. You have heard our finance committee say that if could increase our pledge income by 9%, we can reach these goals and take our ministry to places we can only imagine.

But I want to close this campaign by inviting you to forget all of that for just a moment. I want to end this campaign by reminding us all that at its core, giving is a spiritual practice. Does St. Paul’s do fantastic ministry and touch the lives of thousands thanks to you? Absolutely! Could we do even more if we were to grow by 9%? You bet we will! But at its heart, the giving that Jesus talked about was never about the church’s need to receive, it was based on our need to give.

You see, giving is an essential spiritual practice just like prayer, worship or serving others, and if we miss out on that, we miss the point.

Why is giving so important? Because giving is just about the most subversive, counter cultural act we can do today–particularly in a consumer-driven, debt-driven society like ours. Jesus knew that money was where the rubber met the road when it comes to our faith and love of God. “Where your money is, your heart will be also,” wasn’t a campaign slogan. Jesus was revealing a profound truth about faith, that was true then and now. Giving challenges us to trust God and invites us to start doubting the economy of scarcity and fear; an economy where enough is never enough, and stuff is supposed to buy us happiness.

And so I invite you to prayerfully consider making a pledge  that challenges you to re-think what is possible. A pledge that pushes you out of your comfort zone and invites you to question your priorities. Consider a pledge that doesn’t fit your budget, but requires you to re-write your budget. Not because God needs your money, but because but because we all need to live more deeply into that most elusive, most challenging spiritual practice of them all…and then watch where it moves us…and our heart.

Chris Harris

PS – You can pledge online here!
Want to see where your pledge fits in? Click here (PDF).
Want to know why each pledge counts? Click here.
Want to pay your pledge with an automatic debit? Click here.

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