Tales from the Great Adventure

a journal of living-like-we-mean-it, by Derek Maul

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Sunflowers… by God. Sunflower painting by Naomi Campbell

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s Sunday morning, and Rebekah and I are seriously bummed not to be at worship with our WFPC family. We always love being at church, but this week is “Commitment Sunday,” and walking down to the front together to place our pledge card on the communion table is one of my favorite things to do.

  • “What?” you say, “promising to give away a significant percentage of your income gives you joy?”
  • “Well, yes. As a matter of fact, it does.”

I don’t write much about money in this blog space. Generally, I regard dollars and cents as little more than a tool for exchanging work for the stuff we need in order to continue doing our work. In that sense, there’s a closed loop in place.

When I do think about money, especially theologically, I find myself going back to something Rebekah said a few years back. We were talking about our household budget, and how to best allocate our resources. That’s when she told me this:

“I don’t believe either one of us works in order to earn money. We earn money so that we can do the work we’re called to do.”

That is a really huge idea! Rebekah has been called into ministry as the senior pastor of a wonderful Presbyterian congregation – and she gives that calling one hundred percent of herself; I have been called to communicate – and hopefully to help people think more theologically – via writing (this blog, articles, web content, devotionals, and books). The only reason any money finds its way into – and quickly out of – our bank account is to make it possible for us to do this work.

How Rebekah and I use the money we earn is a direct – and disarmingly accurate – window into our lives as Children of God and followers of the Living Way. That’s why we simply cannot do anythin other than to respond with generous hearts, with committed lives, and with the tithe as our starting place when it comes to charitable giving.

This isn’t about obligation, it’s about celebration!

Listen, this isn’t about obligation, it’s about celebration! We celebrate the amazing privilege and joy of being part of something as amazing as Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. Our church mission statement goes like this: “Rooted in Christ; Growing Together in Faith; Reaching Out to Others.”

This is why we exist! We are all born into this life with the marked intention and purpose of serving God, and one another, in this world. The place where we bring together our individual love and faithfulness, and become an otherwise unimaginable force for good, is The Church.

I’m anchoring this post with the sunflower photos for a couple of reasons. First, they were a gift from a church friend, pulled fresh out of his field Saturday afternoon; then, sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun, and I love the theology implied there.

img_6197Rebekah and I are committed to serving God through the work of our church home; and – in addition – all that we have, and all that we are, belongs to our Creator. In consequence, the balance of our resources are available too, because it never belonged to us in the first place.

This is my testimony. I pray that it inspires you to become more free to follow God, without holding anything back.

So, let’s turn our heads toward the sun – DEREK

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