As you can see here, my wife and her associate are continuing their holiday from the lectionary with another Worship Series. Yesterday's was on looking at the Church Budget (yes, it's that time of the year) as a theological document. The sermon at PGUMC was actually preached by one of our lay speakers, and the chair of the Finance Committee, and he did an admirable job of making the point that giving isn't about dollars and cents, but about why we give.
The whole "Butterfly Effect" thing is part and parcel of making a difference. When my wife and I were discussing the issue as she prepared notes for her sermons at Blaine and Hunter United Methodist Churches, I told her that I looked at it this way: One week I may give only five dollars, but through the twistings and turnings of the connectional system of the United Methodist Church, that five dollars may just provide a meal to a hungry child who would otherwise go hungry, or provide a school textbook in Liberia for a student who wouldn't have it otherwise, or be matched by Nothing But Nets to provide a mosquito net to protect a woman from malaria. Since I have no way of knowing beforehand how that money will be used, it is the act of giving that is faithful.
Lying behind my own thinking is a somewhat strange idea - the money in my wallet, my paycheck, and what I get from DJing on weekends isn't mine. It isn't ours, either, in the sense that it is my wife's and mine. Rather, it is all a gift from God. Every penny I earn, every extra dollar that I get as a tip from a satisfied bride's father, isn't "mine". In the end, I look upon all that money as God's to be used wisely, faithfully, prayerfully, and with a sense of humble service. My wife and I will never be wealthy, at least by American standards, but we are far more comfortable than our parents were, and our income prospects will only increase with time, but it isn't about us. It's about how we can serve others through this weird process of giving out of the abundance provided for us by the mysteries of God's grace.
The entire series will be available for purchase once it is finished, and I invite you, if you so choose, to check out all her sermon series this past year, and if you feel moved, to buy one or two. The money goes to the church for its work, so it isn't making anyone rich. But, like a butterfly flapping its wings, it might just cause a chain reaction and bring about a hurricane half-way across the world. That is the strange way these things work.