Responsively Yours: Aligning Our Values and Actions

Responsively Yours: Aligning Our Values and Actions

If you are like me, some days your mailboxes (electronic and paper) would be empty if not for messages about money. We get bills for money we have spent, receipts for money we have paid, statements reflecting money spent and money earned and advertisements urging us to spend more. Some of us are not sure we will have the funds to cover our expenses — our work on living wages is critically important. We also know that the way our culture views money can be overwhelming, and it can knock us off our spiritual center if we do not stay rooted in our values and the biblical witness regarding money and belongings. That's part of what we will be attending to at Mission u this summer. Our fiscal security is not the same as our spiritual security, and it takes prayer, thoughtfulness and attention to bring our values and actions into alignment.

United Methodist Women and our predecessors have always known that generosity is a spiritual discipline. From two cents a week and earnest prayer in our earliest days to the World Thank Offering and A Call to Prayer and Self-Denial today, we have put in place practices that remind us that generosity and giving is part of our own spiritual development. Through giving we acknowledge both that all that we have comes from God and that we only flourish when we are connected to other people. We also know that the blessing of giving to others is not exclusive to persons who have material wealth. Anyone who has been involved in mission service knows that some of the "givingest" people are often people whose own financial status is precarious.

In addition to the spiritual value of giving, we also are keenly aware of its practical effect. Through Mission Giving we come together to turn our faith into action. Think about the mission education for thousands every year or support for regional missionaries or advocacy training, support, and resource development. Or the property and casualty insurance we provide for mission institutions around the country whose property we own, allowing the institutions to invest the money they raise in programs serving women, children and youth. The practical impact of United Methodist Women members' generosity is immense. And this has been true for 149 years — through wars, depressions, inflation and economic change that has taken place over that long period of time.

United Methodist Women also use financial assets for positive purposes in other ways. Supporting organizations like Shared Interest, which has 25 years worth of small enterprise inventing in South Africa, and our own financial management training offered through the regional missionary initiative and our purchasing fair trade goods are examples. We also use funds for positive purposes through socially responsible investing and shareholder advocacy. As longtime member of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility and through our current relationship with Wespath, we join other investors to ask companies to add more women to their boards, to engage in fair labor practices and to address the environmental impact of their operations. United Methodist Women members can also ask people managing our pensions and investments to do the same.

When we are spiritually rooted, our relationship to our money can be an aide to our journey rather than a burden or a stumbling stone. Together we can make a significant impact. What a blessing it is to belong to this community of women following God's call into action!

Harriett Jane Olson
General Secretary
United Methodist Women

Posted or updated: 5/4/2018 12:00:00 AM