Dear Members & Supportive Friends of West Lawn UMC,
As I write to you today we are in the middle of a four-week series of messages based on John Wesley’s famous sermon, “On the Use of Money.” James A. Harnish penned a small book on Wesley’s simple rules for a Christian’s use of money, summarizing it as “Earn. Save. Give.” But any Christian approach to money begins not with one’s W-2 or bank account. It begins in God’s Word.
As we shared in worship on November 3, it all begins with Wisdom! We don’t need more money; we need wisdom. Proverbs 3:13-14 teaches us, “Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold.” As one who has demonstrated your support for this church, by your giving or your affirming through membership vows, we ask you to seek God’s Will by asking God for wisdom in all matters, including how we handle our money.
Wesley’s rules for money continue with “Gain (or earn) all you can.” God’s Word instructs to be diligent, never lazy or idle, and do all with integrity. Proverbs 14:23 teach us, “There is profit in hard work, but mere talk leads to poverty.”
Wesley also taught to “Save all you can.” Proverbs 13:11 reminds us, “Riches gotten quickly will dwindle, but those who acquire them gradually become wealthy.” But saving can be a sickness in itself; we call it “hoarding.” The Bible warns us not to be those who store up treasures in this world, only to lose our souls because we became inwardly focused, hoarding what we could from this world.
Finally, Wesley encouraged Christians to “Give all you can.” Again, seeking wisdom and looking to the Proverbs (11:25), we read “Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
This church has offered life-changing ministries for more than 107 years! This church has blessed those who gather for worship (currently averaging more than 600 per week) with inspiration and encouragement. This church has blessed our communities through outreach, feeding ministries, and by offering tangible expressions of God’s Love. This church is known for its “neighbor love” – living out what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We strive to make a difference in the lives of our members and families, our “neighbors” throughout Berks County, and around the world.
However, none of this happens without the generous, sacrificial support of our members and committed friends. So, we are enclosing our 2020 Commitment Card with this letter, with the hope that you will (1) pray for wisdom as to how you will respond to God through this church, (2) fill it out, and (3) return it to the church, hopefully by bringing it with you to worship on Sunday, November 24th. Of course, you can also mail it back to the church in the envelope provided.
During this season when we are reminded to give thanks, I have much for which I give thanks. The privilege of being a part of this church, and your partnership in our ministries, are high on my list of thanksgiving. I pray now that you will continue in this partnership with me, as we make our commitments to God, through this church, for 2020.
In partnership with you,
Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Raffauf