Why You Must Preach About Money

Why You Must Preach About Money
“Oh, no.  Please don’t tell me to preach about money.  That’s – I don’t know – so distasteful.  All those TV evangelists, they talk about money all the time – and there’s no way I want anyone to think that I am like them.  No way.  Ever.  Plus, once, when I did mention money in a sermon, I got a nasty anonymous letter telling me to stop.  So I did.  So there.  I am only doing what my congregation tells me to do.”
I get it.  Being a clergy person is not easy work.  But treading in what feels to be treacherous water is the hard work you are called to do.  And that includes talking about money. 

A few weeks ago in our Sunday School class, we watched a sermon series on marriage by Adam Hamilton.  Now, ladies and gentlemen, if Adam Hamilton can talk about (please cover your eyes if this is too much) S-E-X in the country’s largest United Methodist Church, then surely, you can talk about M-O-N-E-Y.  And here’s why:
  1. You need to dispel the lie.  The culture we live in is obsessed with money.  I like what Michael White and Tom Corcoran say in Rebuilt “If greed was a problem in a poor agrarian community two thousand years ago, it must be exponentially more so in our contemporary consumer culture.  Billions of dollars are spent each year on advertising and marketing; new technologies, styles, flavors, models, and brands hit the stores daily.  And every day our culture reminds us of what we don’t have, encouraging us to believe that if we had it, we’d be happy.  We buy the lie and spend like no others in human history.
  1. The Bible tells you so.  Just Google “the Bible and money” and get ready to be overwhelmed.  One person has conveniently organized 250 scriptures that refer to money in handy topic areas. Once you start reading you can’t help but notice that Jesus in particular talked about money and possessions - a lot.  Bonus: If you preach using the lectionary and the scripture that week is about money – you can tell anyone who complains to “take it up with the lectionary authors.” 
  1. Money is a spiritual issue.  The fact that God does not need our money is a hard concept to wrap our heads around – and very offensive to some people.  But it’s true – it’s we who need to give our money to God.  It’s not about giving a certain percentage (though that’s a good goal), it’s about understanding that all that we have and all that we own is a gift from God…and thus ultimately belongs to God. And what do we owe God?  Well, I think we all know the answer to that.
So, preach brothers and sisters, preach!  And lay people – you need to be encouraging, supporting, and standing with your clergyperson when he or she gets a little pushback.  This is about culture change – telling the world, including those in the pews, that because of Jesus we are different and we can do things differently. And, dang it, no tele-evangelist will hold us back.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012.  She loves clergy who are brave enough to use the "M" word.  Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.