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Notes And News

God and Money

by The Reverend Meredith E. Ward on October 21, 2022

It’s pledge season, the time of year when the church asks us to consider our giving and make a financial commitment to St. Bart’s for the year ahead. Over the course of the coming weeks, we will hear from St. Bart’s parishioners about why they have made a pledge to St. Bart’s and what St. Bart’s means to them. I don’t know what any of them are going to say, exactly. I imagine that each one of them will have a different story to tell, a different way of speaking about why they give. Each of them will have their own unique experience of St. Bart’s. I would hazard a guess, though, that all of them will have one thing in common: gratitude. And I think it is safe to say that not one of them will stand in front of the congregation boasting about how much they give, and thanking God that “I am not like other people,” as we hear from the Pharisee in this Sunday’s Gospel.

At first glance, the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector seems to be all about money –the money that the Pharisee feels so righteous about giving and the money that the tax collector feels guilty about extorting. But this parable is not really about money at all. It is all about our relationship with others and our relationship with God. Luke makes that clear when he tells us that Jesus told this parable to people “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt.” In this story, the characters’ relationship with money is simply a reflection of their relationship with God.

At first glance, pledge season seems to be all about money, too. We talk about how much it costs to keep the church doors open and we think about how much we can afford to give. But if we’re honest, pledge season is not really about money. Like Jesus’ parable, it is about our relationship with others and our relationship with God – a relationship that, we pray, is rooted in gratitude, humility, and grace. Our pledges are not just about how much we give, but why we give, as we give back to God in gratitude for all that we have received. Now that’s something to boast about!



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