Heart Issues

From The Network, November 2018

“For your heart will always be where your riches are.”
Matthew 6:21 (Good News Translation)

We get to November, and we say to ourselves, “It’s that time of year again.” Stewardship time, with budget time on the horizon. But that thought process won’t do! It’s only evidence of our heart issues. The real truth, of course, is that it’s always “that time of year.” Every day of our lives is a stewardship moment, a stewardship sermon, sure as our hearts continue beating: “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118:24)

The words of Jesus challenge us. What’s happening with our money reflects what’s going on in our heart, what’s at the center of our lives. He goes on in his sermon to explain, to unpack his thesis. He says “Give first place to God’s kingdom and to what he requires, and he will provide you with all these other things.” (6:33). He says, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (6:34)

Henri Nouwen says this: “To set our hearts on the Kingdom therefore means to make the life of the Spirit within and among us the center of all we think, say, or do.” (Making All Things New, p. 43). The lingering stewardship question is not about money, or giving, or pledging, but about where our heart is, what it seeks after. Our use of money answers those questions of the heart more than our words can say. The tale of the tape (changing little over time) is that the average American citizen gives 2 percent of their resources to charity, while the Christian population gives 2.5 percent. During the great depression the giving rate was 3.3%.

We need to reflect deeply on the sermon of Jesus, and our heart issues, every day, every day. We need with faith to set our hearts on God’s Kingdom, to seek first the life of the Spirit within and among us. “For your heart will always be where your riches are.” With all love and goodwill, and asking myself, I ask you now: what is your heart seeking after?

Pray about this as the stewardship letter soon arrives.

Peter Hawkinson

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