(See below for previous publications)
koinəˈnēə, noun: Christian fellowship
“He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4, NRSV)
The first thing that I want to say is, “Thank you!”
We have successfully completed another stewardship season campaign, and the budget team is busy doing their work for 2020. For those of you who turned in a pledge card, thank you! For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance, no worries, we will still take them when you do. Every card matters, because it helps us be as accurate as possible for the coming year.
Money is such a difficult thing to talk about. Statistics suggest that arguments over money are the number one stressor in marriages, the economy is always a touchy and personal issue in our politics, and I have found that many people in church get offended by even the mention of money in worship. And that is a problem, since about 2/3rds of Jesus’ words in the New Testament is about money in some respect.
Among the many reasons I think people are averse to conversations about money, I think a lot it has to do with shame. We are encouraged by the culture to believe that if we don’t have enough of it, we aren’t as good as others and should feel ashamed. But if we have too much of it, according to the culture, we are materialistic and greedy and should feel ashamed. All too often, we feel the judgment of others based on the balance of our bank accounts, and that can make us resentful. To make things worse, money can become a wedge between us and our neighbors, and it can come between us and God.
In the gospels, Jesus points out a poor widow putting her offering into the temple treasury to his disciples. While the rich people stuff a hefty amount of gold and silver into the collection box, this destitute woman puts in all the money she has: two copper coins. Jesus says that she has given more than all of them. I know that math isn’t my strongest skill, but even I know that two cents are not greater than the large gifts of the rich.
What Jesus is trying to teach us is clear. God’s accounting is not like our accounting. God’s math works differently. The widow might not have put in more wealth according to the human measures of silver and gold. But because she put in all that she had, as meager as it was, she demonstrated a wealth of faith. And faith is the currency of God’s economy.
To be perfectly frank, God is not nearly impressed with the number of zeros in our bank accounts. But what catches the eye of the Lord is the faithfulness with which we give. Let us celebrate another successful stewardship campaign with our thanksgiving to God for his faithfulness, and with prayers that God continually strengthens our faith to give all we have back to him.
Highlights Newsletters 2018
Highlights Newsletters 2017