Saturday, November 15, 2008

Earn - Save - Give

I was clicking around Barack Obama's transition website this morning, and found the place where it asks people to share visions for the future of the country. Here's what I contributed:
When it came to money, John Wesley taught early Methodists to "Earn all you can; Save all you can; Give all you can." When I think about the future of the United States of America, I see a place where that basic principle is the norm.
We need a robust capitalist economy that allows everyone to earn all they can, a healthy investment system allows for saving all we can, and an ethos of generosity across the nation in which giving to others is a joy, not an obligation.

Giving is on my mind, because tomorrow it is the topic of my sermon. I am going to try to deconstruct some old ideas about giving to the church and start reshaping generosity so that we think of giving more as an act of discipleship rather than an obligation to support a budget. Giving is a joy, a privilege, and act of grace (2 Corinthians 8-9), and "if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable." (8:12)

Eagerness = prothumia. That can mean zeal, spirit, eagerness, inclination, or readiness of mind, according to the Blue Letter Bible site.

Prothumia has been in short supply in recent memory, but it's making a comeback! So much good happens when there is a sense of eagerness, an attitude of expectancy, a feeling that something wonderful is just about to happen. It filters out into everything else, and begins to build upon itself, creating an exponential increase in the positive feelings all over the place.

Finally, all that we earn, all that we spend, all that we save, and all that we give, everything belongs to God. We just receive it as caretakers. When it comes to money, the question "Will this be pleasing to God?" is the true "bottom line."


Anonymous said...

one of my greatest joys and one of the things I take the most pride in is that I am raising generous kids who can't wait to share their blessings.

I wasn't raised UM so I recall being "old enough" to be baptized (8 yrs) which also meant I got my own offering envelopes and could give like eyeryone else...big stuff! -Mitch

Pastor Amanda said...

thank you, thank you, thank you!

Laura said...

Andy, I love this!! I really need to pop onto your blog more often. Give my love to Erin and the kiddos!