I'll Have What Wesley's Having
As we were getting ready for our recent trip, a friend forwarded a video we just had to watch.
“I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” (on PBS, naturally) is essentially an eating show. This particular segment focused on Florence and Tuscany...perfecto! Phil, funny and sincere, spoke poetically and rhapsodically about all the food he ate and the wonderful people he met. No surprise, we made our way to Vivoli’s – the gelato place he raved about and known mostly by people who actually live in Florence.
Much like my friend who sent me a link about food, astute reader and social media whiz, Bryn Wittmayer recently sent me a link to a fabulous new stewardship resource. Spoiler alert! There’s no food involved. This new guide is appropriately named, “Gratefully Generous: Connecting through Giving, United Methodists Change Lives.” Even if you’re not a United Methodist (gasp!) there’s something here for everyone.
I do, however, want to give a shout out to the UM World Service Fund who published the booklet (you can download it right here). For UMs who wonder where some of your “shared ministry” funds (aka “apportionments”) go – look no further than the “Gratefully Generous” resource. It’s the beauty of the connectional system at work.
There’s a lot of meat (sorry vegetarians) in this 28-page booklet. Interspersed with many “Why I Give” testimonies, are articles that are thought provoking and provide practical tips: Preaching and Teaching Generosity, Let the Children Give, Knowing who Gives, How Electronic Giving Raises Techno-, Theo-logical Questions.
Perhaps my favorite article was “John Wesley on Giving” by retired Bishop Kenneth L. Carder. As most of you know, John Wesley said a lot of provocative things about money – and he lived his life like he meant what he said (Wesley once famously said if he died with more than ten pounds – $20 – in his pocket he could be called a robber).
According to Bishop Carder, Wesley worried about how one of the “Three Rules for Living” was being ignored. Apparently Wesley realized that people of his flock (i.e., Methodists) were quite good at living out the first two rules: “Earn all you can. Save all you can,” while ignoring rule number three, “Give all you can.”
Wesley said, the first two rules are there in order to make it possible to follow rule number three. “…in other words, give all you have to God.” Yikes. That’s hard.
Bishop Carder goes on to say that Wesley observed, “…wealth changes our priorities and our relationships. We begin to assume an unrealistic independence and self-reliance. We forget how to receive and how to give. Wesley believed that true religion never goes from the powerful to the weak, but from the weak to the powerful.”
John Wesley did not call for stewardship to be easy. He, like Jesus, knew money could have a strong hold on us and erode our relationship, not only with our Creator but with the community as well.
It may not be easy reading and it may not go down so easily, but truly – Wesley’s three rules “Earn, Save, Give” keep us on track to lead whole and joy-filled lives. Come to think of it, I will have what Wesley’s having.
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 $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Oops. You’ve caught her eating gelato…again. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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