For the Love of Money: Part Two – Save

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church, preached many times over the course of his life on the topic of money. To take Wesley’s sermon “The Use of Money” seriously would require a whole new way of thinking about how we earn and use money in a world in which others are in want.

As church leaders wrestle daily not only with their individual circumstances but also those of the organization they lead, it would be helpful to revisit Wesley’s 18th century sermon and learn applications for today.

In each section below, the “Simple Solution” lists a portion of Wesley’s sermon, his most concise articulation of his views on how to use money. The sermon excerpts are adapted from John Wesley on Christian Practice: The Standard Sermons in Modern English, by Kenneth Cain Kinghorn.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

In More or Less, Jeff Shinabarger calls readers to create their own social experiments to answer the question, “What is enough?”

It all started with one idea: What would happen if we created a culture in which we gave away whatever was more than enough for us? How would our habits change if we shed the excess of money, clutter, and food in our lives?

In More or Less, readers will learn how to draw a line of “enough” in their consumer choices, how to see generosity as a chance to experience freedom in a greedy world, and how to make small changes now that will help others forever. As Shinabarger reminds them, defining “enough” is more than a responsibility—it is an opportunity to give hope.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Here is the second rule of Christian prudence: As you gain all you can, by honest wisdom and tireless diligence, save all you can. Do not throw your precious gains into the sea. Do not waste your resources on trivial expenses, which is the same as throwing your money into the ocean.

Do not waste any of your precious resources merely in gratifying the desires of the flesh. Do not try to obtain any kinds of physical pleasures, especially in cultivating a taste for various foods. Cut out all these unnecessary expenditures. Despise delicacies and variety, and be content with the simple food that nature requires.

Do not waste any part of your valuable resources gratifying the desire of the eye with extravagant or expensive clothing or needless accessories. Waste no part of your money fancifully adorning your houses with unnecessary or expensive furniture. Avoid expensive paintings, portraits, decorations, books, and elegant (rather than useful) gardens.

Would we spend anything to gratify these desires if we realized that when we cater to them we only increase them? Nothing can be more certain than this truth. Daily experience reveals that the more we indulge our desires, the more our requirements grow. Therefore, whenever you spend anything to please your tastes or your other senses, you are paying only to satisfy your sensuality.

We have an uncanny ability to accumulate things that are not essential to living, yet we lack the practice of releasing the acquired junk when it no longer serves a purpose.

What is enough?

This may be the most critical question of our generation. More important, it may be the most critical question of our personal lives. If we do not make a personal choice to draw a line, we will be taken over by desire.

Defining enough is our personal responsibility. We won’t recognize enough in our lives unless we have taken the time to define that line. Defining enough leads to a freedom in life that is just waiting to be experienced, breaking the bondage of our ever-increasing desires.

When I define enough, I step off the conveyor belt of consumerism and create my own rhythm of life. Over time, advertisers, credit cards, and the quest for more and better lose their control over me. I no longer feel pushed around by others telling me what I need and want. Enough is a realistic measuring stick – one that offers me attainable and sustainable goals for life and the pursuit of my calling. Sometimes less can do more.

Jeff Shinabarger, More or Less

A NEXT STEP

Author Jeff Shinabarger states that the dictionary defines enough as “adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire.”

As he notes, this definition is endless, and leaves space for anything. The definition of enough cannot be defined by or for others. Enough isn’t a percentage of your income. There is no simple formula. Each person must define what is enough individually.

The author recommends the following to keep the focus of enough on yourself:

On a piece of paper, sketch a line with a plus sign (more than enough) on one end of the paper and a minus sign (less than enough) on the other.


–                                                                                                                                                      +

Ask yourself, where am I on this spectrum for the following topics? Do I need more or do I want more? When will I have enough?

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Presents

Some topics may bring great conflict to your life, while in other areas you will be content. The important thing is to draw your line of enough.

After completing and discussing this exercise with your spouse or household, as applicable, outline one next step or course of action to pursue for the next 90 days.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 97-2.


 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

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Money Matters: Wisely Budgeting for Growth

Budgeting is a great time to develop a plan, with the right leaders, for spending. I prefer approaching budgeting with a growth mentality. If you do so, your budget will be bigger than it was the previous year. A growth budget is a step of faith, but wisdom will require you to have a plan for spending if the growth in giving isn’t realized.

Instead of displaying wisdom in spending, shrewdness in planning, and generosity in giving, church leaders often succumb to the spending values of this world. Sadly many churches are collective reflections of American spending habits-spending all we have and even money we haven’t yet received. Church leaders teach by their spending; therefore, we must display a better way to live by how we manage the resources God entrusts to us. Part of this, I believe, means spending less than you receive as a church.

But how do you reconcile this with a growth mentality? Budgeting in a growing church is very challenging because it’s difficult to predict what giving trends will be in the future. The current growth isn’t always consistent nor is it clear what the new “per-person” giving will be. Often those new to the faith don’t start giving immediately. The practice of simply multiplying the current growth rate by the current “per-person” giving is a good starting point, but it’s really more reflective of the past than predictive of the future. [To do this, a church simply estimates the number of new people and multiplies that number by the current “average per-person” giving]

The budgeting season is a good time to wrestle with the tension of growth and uncertainty, faith and wisdom. You can reconcile a growth mentality and shrewd planning by using the budgeting time to objectively and proactively plan spending so that you’re not making chaotic decisions later.

How could this look practically?

(1) Have a trigger plan for unleashing new budgeted resources. Mark the areas in your budget that will be “released” after the giving reaches a new consistent level. Once the weekly giving reaches that point, the trigger is pulled.

(2) Develop a plan for spending freezes. With a small team of wise people, plan what spending would be frozen at specific levels of giving. Examples: You may freeze new hires until a consistent level of giving is realized. Or if giving drops to a certain point, certain expenses are suspended.

Establish a flexible framework during budgeting so that clarity is gained before it’s needed. It’s much easier to have objective and level-headed discussions before the moment is urgent.


Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about budgeting clarity.


> Read more from Eric.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.