A Question that Could Change Everything
Not long ago I was reading a blog post by a young woman by the name of Allison Vesterfelt. She asked a poignant question that really got me thinking. The question was: What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money?
That question, she explained, has challenged her to really see things from a different perspective. The first time that question was posed to her she was a grad student, living on a tight budget funded by a part time job and student loans. Concern about money was part of her daily reality.
How much does that cost?
How much will that be?
I can’t afford it.
What made it worse is that everyone around her didn’t seem to have to worry all the time. They had nice apartments and never seemed to grimace at menu prices while eating in restaurants.
But she did worry.
The truth is most people do, whether they admit to it or not.
Since that time in grad school, Allison has allowed that question to guide her life in profound ways. She eventually got to the point where she decided not to allow her worry over money keep her from living the one life entrusted to her, and hold her back from doing what she wanted to do -- and who God was calling her to be.
In that process, she says, she learned a lot about money. First, she learned that, if you worry about money when you don’t have it, you’ll worry about money when you have it. She used to think, as a struggling student, that the only thing that could make her quit worrying about money was to get more of it. But that wasn’t the case.
She finally came to the realization that the worry over money, ultimately, has little to do with circumstances. Despite all of the calculating, obsessing, worrying, the real issues are more than monetary. She also learned that money is a bad motivator, and sometimes leads us to do things that aren’t good for us. Or not do things, as the case sometimes is. Money is a powerful motivator, she says, but not always a good one.
What she suggests is that we “change the way we think about money, and submit ourselves to an economy not driven by dollars but by love, integrity, community and compassion.”
In the life of the church we spend a lot of time wringing our hands, worrying about paying the bills and funding the budget. I often wonder about what it might be like to not worry so much about money; how might that energy that we spend worrying could be better used doing ministry. Maybe an important question that we might ask ourselves, and God, is: what would we do as a church if we didn’t have to worry about money? If our only limitations were our imaginations, who would we serve? What would we do? How would we go about doing ministry?
I’m incredibly thankful for the people in this church that worry about balancing the budget and paying the bills. And I’m also very grateful for all the people that contribute generously so those folks have the funds to do all that. We are incredibly blessed by the faithfulness and generosity of so many.
But as we move forward in ministry, and discern what God is calling us to do and be in the year ahead, may we allow ourselves to wrestle with that question that could change everything: what would we do differently if we didn’t have to worry about money?
My sense is that in the answer to that question are the very things God is inviting us to do.