“Having, First, gained all you can, and, Secondly saved all you can, Then ‘give all you can.’ ”
(John Wesley, “The Use of Money”, 1872)
September … already! That means the purchasing of new school clothes and supplies, beginning another round of school program fees and tuition, planning and procuring materials for the next church liturgical year, and just when it couldn’t get any worse, there is next year’s budget and stewardship initiatives. Yep, that’s right! It’s time, once again, to get serious around how we plan to live out Christ’s Great Commission and what resources we will need to do it.
Interestingly, our roots as Methodists are in both prosperity and mission. A result of John Wesley’s methodology for living a life in Christ was the wise appropriation and utilization of resources including, of course, money. Through the diligence of work, and the discipline of non-waste, Wesley knew that God’s divine economy of abundance would provide all that is needed for oneself, for one’s family and household, and for others less fortunate … and would do so in abundance. In fact, Wesley’s tenant of “make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can” led to an amazing period of prosperity and growth for Methodist Church members, the Church’s connectional ministries, and the Church as a denomination. I share this not so much as a recipe for personal prosperity, but rather to demonstrate just how much resource has been put in our trust to use wisely and to share.
It is important to note, however, that God’s abundance is not just about the resource of money and that which money can provide. Our time is perhaps is an even more precious gift from God, followed closely by gifts of talents and skills. But all combined, these form a powerhouse of abundant resources that are intended to enrich the lives of both receivers and givers. Further, adding diversity into the mix—our range of ages, physical capabilities, personal experiences, and God-given inclinations—and every single one of us has enormous ability and power to contribute to God’s call of the church to be the hands, feet, arms, and heart of Christ.
As we enter into the Fall season and kick-off our new activities and ministries for the coming year, I encourage you to prayerfully consider those talents and resources that you have been blessed with in this life and how they may be used to bring heaven into closer reality for others and ourselves. When I think of who we are, what we are, and whose we are, I become excited and energized by our potential made possible by the abundance already entrusted to us, “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an [even greater] abundance” (Matthew 25:29, NRSV).
Peace and blessings to you, and may you be a blessing to all you encounter … Pastor Bob