Q — In light of the Great Recession and the financial pressures many families are facing, how does one balance the need to plan for retirement, college education and the like with the need to fulfill the call to a stewardship response to the church?
A — Many families include members not only who are financially challenged by the prospect of going to college, or who must think about retirement, but also who cannot find employment, even with university degrees and qualifications, who have no health insurance benefits, or perhaps have lost their homes due to the nation-wide housing crisis. How does one respond in such circumstances and situations to the financial needs of the church?
There is no one way to respond to the question. If money is simply not a pressing issue, people can and do make large and substantial donations to the Church. Some people advocate tithing, that is to say, giving one tenth of one’s income to the Church. Others give spontaneously depending on the particularities of their pocket-books. Whatever one does, the local Church, the parish and the diocese together, depends on disciplined regulated giving.
My response would be to act prudently and prayerfully. Let’s think about prudence first. A good thing to do would be to assemble all the financial facts in one’s situation: the amount of salaried income and possibly of investments; the estimated amount of contribution to upcoming challenges such as the issues mentioned above; what regular disposable income one has; and, on the basis of these financial “facts” make a reasonable budget. These are immediate moral responsibilities, made by way of a balanced set of reasonable judgments. Into the equation must then come for the committed Christian a financial contribution to the Church. When money is a pressing issue, the decision of how much to contribute should be arrived at through the same analytical method outlined above. This is prudence at work, and this is also where prayer comes in. Prayer is thinking that is passionate, compassionate and responsible — in other words, raising one’s mind and heart to God. Mind and heart. This seems to me to provide a way forward for the stewardship question, not the only way, but a way.
Q — In light of the Great Recession and the financial pressures many families are facing, how does one balance the need to plan for retirement, college education and the like with the need to fulfill the call to a stewardship response to the church?
A — Many families include members not only who are financially challenged by the prospect of going to college, or who must think about retirement, but also who cannot find employment, even with university degrees and qualifications, who have no health insurance benefits, or perhaps have lost their homes due to the nation-wide housing crisis. How does one respond in such circumstances and situations to the financial needs of the church?
There is no one way to respond to the question. If money is simply not a pressing issue, people can and do make large and substantial donations to the Church. Some people advocate tithing, that is to say, giving one tenth of one’s income to the Church. Others give spontaneously depending on the particularities of their pocket-books. Whatever one does, the local Church, the parish and the diocese together, depends on disciplined regulated giving.
My response would be to act prudently and prayerfully. Let’s think about prudence first. A good thing to do would be to assemble all the financial facts in one’s situation: the amount of salaried income and possibly of investments; the estimated amount of contribution to upcoming challenges such as the issues mentioned above; what regular disposable income one has; and, on the basis of these financial “facts” make a reasonable budget. These are immediate moral responsibilities, made by way of a balanced set of reasonable judgments. Into the equation must then come for the committed Christian a financial contribution to the Church. When money is a pressing issue, the decision of how much to contribute should be arrived at through the same analytical method outlined above. This is prudence at work, and this is also where prayer comes in. Prayer is thinking that is passionate, compassionate and responsible — in other words, raising one’s mind and heart to God. Mind and heart. This seems to me to provide a way forward for the stewardship question, not the only way, but a way.