Making a Little Money Goes a Long Way
The School of Divinity is committed to financial well-being and forming ministers who engage finances responsibly. With support of a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers, we have created a program, Financial Well-Being for Pastoral Leaders, to create a culture that shapes the habits and skills of pastoral leaders by promoting financial well-being for themselves and the communities they serve. One of the foundational elements of our program is formation, which aims at enabling students to focus on building financial competency through annual assessment meetings with the Office of Financial Aid, workshops and seminars, peer mentors, and technological resources. Once a month, the Unfolding blog will feature posts from the student peer mentors. These are current students who have previous experience in the financial industry or who have made financial planning a significant part of their identity as a religious leader.
We all know the biblical story of the woman in the temple giving all she has to the offering plate. She is, by societal definitions, poor. Scoffed by the wealthy elite, the woman is ashamed of her gift as it does not match or come close to matching the offerings of the other individuals present. Jesus intervenes, in the way only Jesus can, by turning the situation on its head.
In my mind, Jesus is teaching a lesson on how to live fully with less. Or how to make a little money go a long way. The woman who gives the two coins is obviously stretching her purse to honor God and God’s call on her life. She becomes the perfect example of a money stretcher.
My situation with divinity school is similar. Once I was accepted to Appalachian State, my parents said that undergrad was on them, but should I go further in education that would be on me. I was blessed by several scholarships and tuition paid by my parents. I felt the call to seminary my sophomore year at App. I began sifting through my options my junior year and exploring what God had in store for my life path. I knew without a doubt in my mind that a Master of Divinity was on my radar.
Numbers can be daunting; and I don’t just mean the biblical book with all of its naming and listing. No one likes to have their wants and aspirations hindered by a financial situation.
I offer to you these two steps for making a little money go a long way in pursuing a “God calling”:
- Don’t be afraid to let others pay: You are not on this journey alone. As individuals around you begin to see your passions and drive, they will want to play a part in your success. My grandfather wanted to be a part of my journey and provides money for my books each semester.
- Livin’ on Love: Let other people shower you with love in the form of home cooked dinners, lunch outings, and homemade brownies from devoted church members.
Financial situations are a part of life and ministry. Everyone’s got one. Making a little money go a long way takes planning and commitment. It isn’t easy to stretch what little we have monthly to cover living expenses and tuition. Remember, we are not in in alone. God called each of us to a specific purpose and led us here to fulfill a mission. Through that call, God makes a promise to provide for us; we need only to acknowledge the blessings that don’t necessarily take on monetary form.
Larke is a second year student from Brevard, North Carolina. She is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies. Larke has been blessed financially and has a passion for living fully off of less and helping others with financial planning to focus on making a little money go a long way.