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Every time I spend money on anything, I will consider it a want or a need.  Maybe it is time to use the public library again instead of buying books for leisure reading. 

 


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
January 8, 2007

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Plunge into austerity -- at least for six months

I have a confession to make.  I bought a house in September.  A very old house with lots of needed repairs.  I imagined that they would wait and let me do them one at a time as I could afford to fix them.  I was deluded.

That is not my confession however.  My confession is that when I realized it was going to be hard to keep solvent with all of this repair work, I momentarily considered decreasing my giving to the church.  (If you are a pastor reading this, you know it can get frustrating being one of the biggest givers in a church full of people who pay your salary, but make more yet give less than you do.  If you are using this article in your newsletter, I suggest you delete this parenthetical statement. The truth is however, that my giving or anyone's is not dependent on what others are or are not giving, but on what God has given you.)

I say momentarily and if someone could please give me absolution, it was only momentary.  I started thinking that if we really talk first fruits then we give first and then look at all our other bills. 

We did a session in confirmation class where we talked to our confirmands about the difference between wants and needs.  I started thinking about all the things I think I need but don't really.  Of course, this house is one of those things, but as I relook at my budget I can pick and choose what among the things I merely want that I can afford to have.

So I have decided to go on austerity budgeting for six months to see how well I do without some of my wants.  Cable TV seems like a need.  When it accidentally got cut for five days, I was lost.  The same with my Internet access.  But of course they are not needs.  Especially when the church has high-speed cable access for the use of the administrator and myself.

I think I will keep the Weight Watchers membership as it is working and I will save on food.  Especially if I do not eat out.  I am already saving since I stopped buying the Vanilla Chai from Dunkin' Donuts.  And with the stress of my call perhaps I will keep my therapist.

Every time I spend money on anything, I will consider it a want or a need.  Maybe it is time to use the public library again instead of buying books for leisure reading. 

I am still debating my cell phone.  I really think it helps with my work, but I find myself talking and driving which is not good.  Also the bill can get way out of hand no matter how many minutes I seem to add.

If I seem a little shellshocked to people when I go cold turkey on some of these things, I hope they will be understanding.  It will be an interesting six months.  Whatever I decide to add back after that point will be appreciated.  And perhaps I will appreciate the extra silence to add more time for prayer and study.

If anyone would like to join me in this exploration and share their experiences, please write.  I will still get email at the church.

God blesses us with so much.  God gives us what we need and so much more.  And it is important to regularly remember what we have been given.  Perhaps this will help.

Lord, Bless and strengthen me and all of us with what you give to us.  Give us the wisdom to use what we are given to your glory.  Amen


Copyright 2007, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.


The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.