I can still remember the first time I chose to make a financial contribution to the ministry of our yearly meeting.
As a young adult traveling in the ministry, living with student loans and an uncertain future, my resources were limited. Like many of us, I grew up with a sense of not enough. I told myself I had nothing to give, that I’d give when I was older, that I’d give next year. But as I clicked the “donate” button, I realized I was choosing to align what resources I did control with this spiritual movement that was changing my life.
For me, it started with five dollars.
Those two cups of coffee a month that I was willing to sacrifice opened a new dimension of relationship with our community of Friends. Giving financially has become a spiritual discipline for me, a practice of abundance. Like becoming a member in my local meeting, giving money is another way I join the Quaker movement as together we bear the fruit of Love in the world.
As 2015 approaches, our hearts turn to what’s most important – and hopefully away from email. I’m looking forward to a time of retreat, reflection and prayer as the old year turns to new. My bags are almost packed.
But before I go, I’m going to make an end-of-year gift to help sustain our shared work together in the coming year.
Here’s what this message is really about:
Financial support is just a small part of the many ways we accompany one another on this journey of faithfulness. But it’s an important part.
I believe giving financially is one more way we affirm the sacredness of every aspect and every moment of our lives, as we walk together in the Light.
In this time of global challenge and change, the world needs a way of life that doesn’t draw lines between “spiritual” and “worldly” concerns. We need an integrated approach that invites our whole lives to be filled with and guided by the Spirit. And this is something Friends have tried to practice for a long time.
In this season, I’m reminded that it’s vital to bring all of my life – including my relationship with money – into the Light.
Might this be true for you, too?
If you’ve already given this year, thank you.
If you haven’t given a gift – or haven’t even considered it this year – I hope you’ll join me in making a contribution in any amount by tomorrow night.
In this new year, may our lives and our local meetings be a blessing in our world.
In faith and service,
Noah Baker Merrill
Putney (VT) Friends Meeting
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends