One of the anecdotes that gets trucked out when churches ask for money describes someone who has died and approaches the pearly gates with great expectations. The deceased sees St. Peter standing sentry, and immediately launches in on a list of their virtues. On and on they go, including every good deed, every generous thought. Finally, St. Peter has had enough. “I don’t need to hear any of this,” he says. “Just show me your bank statement and I will have all the information I need.”
We are often reminded that the subjects of money, possessions, and allocation of resources are mentioned twice as much as any other topics in Scripture. One third of Jesus’ parables have something to do with making right use of our gifts—all of them, financial and otherwise. And “right use,” in biblical terms, is always connected to our trust and faith in God as well as our commitment to justice and support both of those we love and those among us who struggle.
This is the time of year when we hear a lot about money. Many organizations are asking us for support, and it can be difficult to prioritize where to give and in what amount. The decisions we make about what we do with what we have are very important; certainly for the people and places receiving our offerings, and, just as vitally, for us. Our spirits expand when we give, and God always has surprises in store for us when our hearts are fixed on connected generosity.
So, while the little story above might initially seem crass, its point is acute: whether it’s the hours in our day or the money at our disposal, the choices we make about how we use our gifts do reflect our priorities. Over three Sundays during the past month we have heard some beautiful witnesses to the power and joy of our worshipping community (thank you, Patrizia, Lou and Rick!). Our Ingathering celebration of stewardship pledges for next year is this Sunday. My hope and prayer is that all those who love Holy Apostles will join together and prioritize support of our common life with time, talent and treasure in 2022.