By Stephanie Nagley
Jesus talked about money more than anything else – the love of money, the desire for money, the lack of money, the abundance of money. Money, he knew, challenges and changes us like nothing else. Money is powerful – so powerful that something that is supposed to be useful too often just leaves us feeling used.
We’re smart people so we know what happened on Wall Street. We may not grasp all the complexities but we know what happened in the broad scheme. We know that a lot of other smart people got greedy, and the love of money took them on a magical mystery tour. The ride is over and all of us will pay the price.
Hedge funds won’t get us to heaven or make heaven on earth. “Where your treasure is there your heart will be too.” Giving to the church and organizations that believe, trust in and hope for heaven on earth says volumes about what we hope, believe and trust. We aren’t trying to buy our way to heaven for heaven can’t be bought. But giving to heavenly causes brings us closer to our reason for being and helps further God’s work in the world. That’s our slice of heaven here and now.
As I watched the Dow drop and heard about credit markets freezing, I felt nervous like most everyone else. But I also sensed an opportunity, an opportunity to get my own house in order and to reallocate where I put my treasure.
The word economy is rooted in the Greek word household. Our churches are part of the household of God. A pledge is our way of living God’s household, a household guided by the economy of abundance. Our participation matters – it matters not just to our individual churches, but to something greater. When we write a check or make a stock transfer, we’re making an investment in the household of God. We’re placing our money and our lives on the line for a dream. We are saying that we believe that the dream, the dream of God, can, must, shall come true.
The Rev. Dr. Stephanie Nagley is rector of St. Luke’s Church, Bethesda, Md.