In an effort to make progress towards another one of my “32 things” that I hope to accomplish in this year on this earth, I’ve started attending church again. (Although this is only the second Sunday in a row that I’ve darkened the door of a church sanctuary … what is it that they say about 30 days to make a habit?)
I have a complicated relationship with going to church. I have been reared in the Christian faith and while I believe in the Lord, I have a hard time with some of the shenanigans that I see perpetuated in His name. However, old habits die hard and going to church is an expression of my faith – no matter how faulty my faith is. (And trust me, it is …) And I’m also fortunate enough to have a church that is literally down the block from my house.
So imagine my surprise last Sunday when I attended this church (Hope Summit Christian Church for any of you who live in my geographical region …) and they were in their second sermon in a three-part series called “Money Matters.” Using Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover” as a bit of framework to shape the message, the pastor at this church has asked the congregation to make three commitments:
1) To commit to live within their means and avoid consumer debt.
2) To commit to tithe an amount that equals 10% of their income to God through Hope Summit.
3) To commit to an approach that builds wealth instead of squanders it.
Although I was kind of cynical during my first Sunday at Hope Summit (first impressions are everything and nothing says “welcome” like a sermon about making sure to give, give, give …), the message has not been lost on the person who has written to you for the past couple of years about debt reduction and Ramsey’s message of the importance of trying to live like no one else today so someday I will live like no one else. And as someone who tries – and frequently fails – to live to a frugal creed, I really don’t mind the reminders … even if it is within a spiritual context.
Links to the pastor’s sermons regarding “Money Matters” may be found here. To be honest, I will probably go back and listen to the first one to hear what I missed. I’m still on the fence as to whether or not this church will end up being my church home. There have been a couple of times when my “bullshit detector” has gone off, but I admit that my cynicism is strong at times and I shouldn’t be so damn critical.
And finally … it’s kind of interesting to me … I have felt very stilted writing this post to you all. My utmost wish when I’m writing to all of you is that this is an inclusive forum that welcomes everyone who is walking on this journey of frugal living. The irony is not lost on me that I have absolutely no problem telling you guys about how crappy I am with my finances, but my words seem to stutter when I write about my struggle with my faith. I hope that I haven’t made anyone uncomfortable by bringing this up today … however, I feel that the core of this message is universal: Money does matter and we need to be mindful of where we are at right now so we can ensure a good financial life in the future.
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