Wallets need to be baptised as well
A priest and a new convert to Christianity entered a river for a full immersion baptism. The person, about to be baptised, remembered he still had his wallet in his pocket. He grabbed for his wallet to throw it on the riverbank. The priest stopped him and said, “Bring your wallet in with you. That needs to be baptised as well!”
I can relate to that story because giving money to the mission and work of God’s church is something I have struggled with over the years. In my early years as a Christian I was prepared to spend lots of time and energy as treasurer of the parish, but the last thing I was prepared to give away was my cash.
If you’ve been around church for any length of time you will know that giving to the church is something Christians ‘should’ do. But why? What should be our motivation for giving? Why do we give our money to the local church community we are part of:
First, the Bible teaches us to give. The Old Testament taught God’s people to give a tithe (the word means a tenth) of their income. The New Testament built on this further by encouraging God’s people to give generously (2 Corinthians Chapters 8 and 9) and using examples of the widow who put all her money in the temple offering (Luke 21:1-4) and the boy who gave all his food to Jesus (John 6:1-15).
Second, you get what you pay for! It doesn’t sound that ‘spiritual’ does it? But it is realistic! Stuff costs money! We enjoy coffee – we pay for it. We enjoy watching a movie – we pay for it. If we enjoy being part of a Christian community we have to pay for it. Every parish or faith community needs regular income to provide for salaries, pay its bills, maintain and upgrade its buildings, etc.
And third, a significant motivation for giving is a way of saying thank you to God. At the centre of the Christian message is God giving of himself through his Son on the cross to save all humankind.
As we think of all the ways Jesus has blessed us as individuals, as families and as a St John’s community, giving generously of our money is an important way to say, ‘Thank you Jesus.’
A healthy and growing faith community is one where people give of their financial resources to God’s work through regular, generous, intentional giving. Has your wallet been baptised?