Part Two of Three –
For most of us making the connection between the way we live out our faith and the way we use our money is a life-long journey that invites us to live our lives more intentionally and purposefully than we have before, and in many cases, ever could have imagined.
In our last column we introduced the topic, and in this one and the next we’re going to share the experiences of some of our board members in hopes their stories will help you make that connection yourselves.
Susan Taylor wrote, “Life has been full of lessons rather than a single event that changed my perspective. One of those lessons came while I was volunteering at my Decatur, Georgia, church’s shelter for people without homes. Over one of the many breakfasts I shared at table with our guests, a man told his story of how he had become homeless, and I was struck to the heart by how similar our histories – our mistakes – had been. Yet I was fine, well-educated, and launching into my profession, while he was living on the streets. The difference? I had a family with resources that gave me a ‘soft landing,’ while he had been on his own. That made me ask, ‘What if the Church took seriously our responsibility to offer that “soft landing” to each other, seeing each other as true family?’ Imagine our collective power to make it possible for so many more people to answer the call of God in their lives.”
Jim Marsh found ways to offer the soft landing Susan spoke of through the ways he put his personal resources to work. “I dealt with a fair amount of guilt about the money I had, and how it was being invested,” he said, until fellow board member, Andy Loving, introduced him to socially responsible investing. That really made the faith and money connection for him as he “found so much empowerment in being able to invest in companies that were socially screened and doing wonderfully creative things to change the world.” He added that he felt even more empowered when “I began banking with a local DC bank that invests in the community instead of with a bank that profits handsomely from pay day lenders.”
Kaci Jensen was 26 or 27 years old and working full time after recently graduating. She said, “I was paying off my student loans, paying on a house, and tithing at church. My paychecks were more than I needed, and I wasn’t sure what to do.” Others pressured her “to buy nice things that would not get used much,” but that didn’t seem right to Kaci. “I liked to give to the church, but didn’t know how much more I should give, so I had all of these questions about what God wanted me to do with this blessing of money for the work I was called to do. There isn’t a lot of direction in the Bible and in the church either,” she added.
That changed for Kaci when she had the opportunity to attend a Faith and Money Network workshop. “I signed up hoping for answers,” she said, “and there I found help connecting the way I lived my faith with the way I used my money. The workshop introduced me to many different people with different and similar situations and many more questions and ways to look at things. There were no specific answers, and yet there were ways to look for more meaning in how I live my life and how I live in my faith.”
For Susan and Jim, making the connection with and money had been a more private, introspective journey until encounters with other provided “road signs” pointing them in the direction to pursue. That was Kaci’s path, too, but she found the help she was looking for at a Faith and Money Network workshop where many people were asking the same questions she was.
In our next column, we’ll focus on the impact of group experiences on other board members’ journeys. In the meantime, if you have made a connection yourself between the way you live out your faith and the way you use your money, we’d like to hear from you and possibly share your story with our readers. Please send your contribution of one to three short paragraphs to [email protected].
To read the first article in this series, click on “Soulful Money Matters” below.
Blessings for the Journey,