Giving thanks: a spiritual experiment

We can shift our relationship with money through practicing gratitude. In church life, a focus on celebration, gratitude and abundance begins with the leader. We can cultivate gratitude daily, and what better time than Thanksgiving to remind ourselves of this practice?

When you look, you may see more than you think—beginning with Scripture. Walter Brueggemann suggests that Genesis 1 is “a song of praise for God’s generosity.” (“The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity,” The Christian Century, March 24, 1999.) How might we sing a song of praise for God’s generosity in our personal life and our life at church?

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for these aspects of my own money life (and many more):

  1. I have never had to worry about paying my bills.
  2. I have access to thousands of free books through my public library.
  3. My husband has medical benefits for us through his employer.
  4. My parents taught me to tithe.
  5. I live in a house with safe, clean, hot and cold running water.

What’s on your list?

When you view resources with gratitude, and remember that money is far from ultimate, you can shift your perspective at church as well as in your personal financial life. You can cultivate a spiritual practice in relation to your church’s money, by focusing on what works and how you see God present.

Can you make a similar gratitude list for your church’s money life?

Set some spiritual experiments for yourself. Try one of these:

  • During the finance committee meeting or a conversation with the treasurer, see if you can step back. Can you think about God’s gift of money in the meeting or the conversation? What difference does it make if you do?
  • If you are dreading the next meeting about money, spend five minutes in gratitude beforehand.
  • Pray after the meeting instead of rehashing it in your mind.
  • Read Matthew 6 before or after—or read it aloud to start the meeting.
  • Bring an object to remind you of God and place it on the table during the meeting.

What are your own ideas to frame church business with thankfulness, as a gift not a burden, so you might experience more peace while doing business?

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