Recession Mama

{July 5, 2009}   God and Money

By Katy

In God We Trust

In God We Trust

God and Money. Doesn’t quite go together like a horse and carriage or love and marriage or a hot dog and a bun. Alright, that last one didn’t rhyme nor did it really have a reason for being there. I just wanted to think up a third.

Now, I have never been into religion, and I’m definitely not about to tell anyone what to believe. I’m just here to talk about my experiences with my own personal finance, and of course, that means, I will be sharing with you personal stories about my life. And this last week, I made a big life change.

I was baptized last Sunday. Although, it’s a big deal to me, I don’t expect it to be a big deal for anyone else. I know it’s something between God and me…and well, maybe 300 of my fellow All Saints Church-goers. But here’s where the personal finance issue comes in…along with getting my head soaked in water by the Rector, I also needed to commit to putting my hard-earned money into the offering basket every Sunday from now on. I received a form asking me to pledge how much I was willing to give to the church (and in so implying…God) for the rest of this year. So, what should I do?

I have already been giving 10% of my weekly net pay every Sunday I have attended church, but now, I need to put down on paper exactly how much I am willing to give and that makes me nervous. I don’t exactly make a regular paycheck. In fact, I just wrapped up a show and am looking for my next gig. So, how do I make this kind of commitment without knowing how much I will be bringing in? I haven’t filled out the pledge card yet. I want to sit down with the Fiance and figure out what our combined income and debt look like. But I also want to have faith. I want to think that if I made the commitment to pledge 10% of my weekly pay, that I will get back, even more, in abundance. Is that realistic? I’ve always prided myself on being realistic, and that is what has gotten me through all of my years of freelancing. But for the first time in my life, I am going to try and operate on faith. After all, God takes care of the birds and the wildflowers, right? They never go hungry, nor lose their splendor and beauty. What do you think? Am I acting like a fool and ignoring my head? Or do you think it’s right that I go with what my heart is telling me to do?


Kim says:

Congratulations, Katy, on getting baptized. It’s wonderful to feel a part of a community of like minded believers. I grew up going to church but stopped going regularly around 17. I’ve recently thought about looking for a new church home. We’ll see.

Unfortunately I don’t know that I’m much help on the finance and faith issue. I often struggle between “having faith” and “being realistic.” And when I see statements like, “God always takes care of…,” I have to think, “well, not really. What about……. (fill in the dots with any number of tragic events).” Then again, I have read a number of accounts of people who have given their last dime to the church and have seen it returned to them in even bigger quantities. For instance, Maya Angelou has written about contributing to a church even if it meant she would have no money left to pay for food for herself and her son. And they were always taken care of. So, there you go.

I don’t know that faith is always realistic. That’s why it’s called faith. It’s trust in something bigger than ourselves. Committing money to a church during an economic crisis (especially when your weekly paycheck always changes) requires a lot of faith. But I guess that’s a part of living a faith filled life. My advice is to pray about it, talk to Anthony and maybe a leader in your church, and go from there. But you already know that. πŸ™‚

Katy says:

Thanks, Kim! I had stopped going to church around 16 or 17 too! But I have finally found a church I can really believe in. And your thoughts are beautifully written and lots for me to think about. I will definitely pray on it. Thanks!!!

recessionmama says:

From Heather:

We give our church a lump sum once a year. And give more throughout the year if we can. It’s important. The church depends on it. They give to the community and help so many people. But I think God understands that you can’t always commit to a certain amount. Sharing your story of faith and giving what you can is what God really wants. Be an example through Christ and show people the beauty of your faith. That’s more important than a dollar amount.

Katy says:

Thanks, Heather! It is true that it’s more important than a dollar amount. And I’m also volunteering through the church. I’ll pray on it and with God’s help, I’ll figure out the amount that will be just right. πŸ™‚

I think that God wants you to be okay and not give more than you can afford. And like Heather said, you can always give more when you have more to give. Maybe put down on the card the minimum you can pay, even without a job. You can always pay over that in the future! πŸ™‚

And volunteering is an amazing donation. Don’t under value that, my friend.

Katy says:

Thanks, Jennifer! I definitely don’t undervalue volunteering. My mentorship has been really amazing so far. I’m hoping to give her a bit more of my time when I’m not working too.

carla says:

Katy, I’m so proud of you! Being baptized is a huge step. I hear what you’re saying about wanting to do the right thing by the Church, but also wanting to be cautios with your finanaces since you’re a freelancer and you’re currently looking for a gig. That’s a tough one. I would hope that God understands our financial situations and forgives if we can’t make the 10% promise….knowing that we will give when the time is right. : ) I’m no help!

carla says:

That should say “cautious”.

Katy says:

Thanks, Carla! It was a big step for me, and I do think God understands. I just want to take a leap of faith and see where it takes me. But my realistic, cautious side is wrestling with me on this issue. You are a help. Everyone’s thoughts are important to me. I will pray about it, and I’m sure I’ll come up with the best solution.

Lydia says:

Awesome, Katy! Now we’re sisters. πŸ˜‰ I, too, sometimes struggle with “what to put down on the pledge card”, so I always underestimate on the paper work, then me and God know what I’m really going to do every time I get paid. The church really does set it’s budget according to the pledges, so I figure if mine turns out to be more than expected, it’s a pleasant surprise for them! Just pray about it, God will steer you in the right direction. God Bless!

Lydia says:

oh yeh! and one more thing…. I’ve been a tither a long time. Our Heavenly Father really does take care of us. Sometimes He does it in VERY unexpected ways. Maybe I’ll have to do a guest blog about the ATV I won a few years ago from WBAP…. yes, an All Terrain Vehicle….. I lived in an apartment at the time. LOL!

Katy says:

What did you did you do with the ATV? Did you keep it?

Lydia says:

Nope, sold it to pay a medical bill. The Lord knew I could really use the money, so He sent it in a way that was SO ridiculous that it could only have come from Him! He does work in mysterious, and sometimes really humorous ways!

Katy says:

That’s hilarious and amazing. And yes, mystery is the key word.

Adam says:

Hi Katy…it’s been a long time. My views of religion and money might be controversial to some, but I don’t think the church has any business asking you how much you plan to donate. Just tell them you’ll give them what you can when you can. And believe me, you’re not giving your money to God…It’s going to the church. You won’t go to hell if miss a week either.

Katy says:

Hi Adam,

I agree it’s money given towards the church. But I really believe in what this church is doing. They’re fighting for equality, peace, and justice for everyone…and I’d like to contribute towards that. I also believe that my money is like membership in a community that I really want to be a part of. While, it’s not necessary for me to give money in order to be accepted into this community, I know that what I can give will help others. It’s the same as giving to charities. It’s tax deductible. And I’m getting something out of it too. πŸ™‚ And no, I don’t think I’ll be going to hell if I miss a week. I don’t even know if I believe in hell. For me, it’s putting my money into action. I think if you’re lucky enough to make money, you should be giving to the less fortunate. And one way is through churches, synagogues, temples, or wherever your faith may take you. I also contribute to my local NPR station, museums I love, and a non-profit that’s like Doctors Without Borders. I also contribute time to a mentorship program. For me, money shouldn’t just be saved or spent. It should also be given.

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