October 2017 Shavings Letter

It was Martin Luther who said there are three conversions necessary to become a

• Conversion of the Head (Belief)
• Conversion of the Heart (Will)
• Conversion of the Wallet (Money)

Guess which of the three is the hardest? In the universe of spiritual concerns,
money is indeed, the final frontier.

I can tell you that in my 20+ years of ministry, it is far easier to have conversations
with people about their beliefs or their actions. Generally, folks are pretty open to
discussing changes that need to be made in those areas. Conversations about
money are a different matter. The walls go up, the conversation shuts down
and suddenly the discussion shifts to things that are ‘private’ and ‘no one else’s
business.’ It is not unusual for someone to talk about how they ‘resent’ that the
subject was broached and the Church would be a lot better if they stopped talking
about ‘money’ so much.

Granted, it would be a lot more comfortable around church not to talk about money.
But it would also stop being the Church – at least a Church that follows Jesus. Jesus
talked about money/treasure more than prayer, more than sin and a lot more than
about being ‘comfortable.’ The only thing Jesus talked about more than how we
approach our wealth is how we approach the Kingdom of God – and he seemed to
think the two were related. In fact, there are several times when Jesus indicates that
while wealth won’t get you into heaven, it just might be the thing that keeps you out.

I guess that is why I am glad we have moments like Set Your Sail Sunday (Nov. 5).
Churches have different ways of dealing with finances. In our congregation, this
is the Sunday we will gather to make our pledges to God regarding next year’s
budget. In part, it is how we keep the lights on, support programs and equip people
for mission and ministry. But Set Your Sail Sunday is not about simply giving
to a budget. It is about giving to God’s kingdom work of grace and redemption.
Pledging and giving are some of the key disciplines we use to help with the hardest
conversion – the conversion of the wallet. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but it is also
essential if we want to be followers of Christ.

I hope you will make a point of joining us for Set Your Sail Sunday. More specific
information about this special day will be sent out in the weeks to come. Until then
may we each give thanks for the conversions of head, heart and wallet that have
taken place in our lives so far and be open to the ongoing conversions yet to come.

Pastor Erik

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