During my theological education, I made the mistake of expecting that my vocation as a priest would exist separately from, and even contrary to, monetary concerns. I sought holy orders because of my positive (and negative) religious experiences, as well as my love of people—not my love of money. I incorrectly assumed that being a priest would allow me to operate outside the bounds and concerns of fiscal matters. I was ordained at a young age, and this expectation was born from naivete. Naturally, I soon discovered how fundamental resource allocation discernment is to not only parish ministry but to simply being an adult in the world.
Years later, I understand resources and monetary concerns to be one of the essential parts of my ministry. This is true for many reasons, most significantly the blessings inherent in resource redistribution and allocation. When people are acting out of love to one another, resources will flow naturally back and forth. This includes resources of money but also those of education, leadership, space, shelter, expertise, and so on.
This past weekend, Church of Our Saviour planted thirty fruit trees across our beautiful campus. The trees were donated by The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (https://www.ftpf.org/) and distributed through Seeds of Hope (https://www.seedsofhopela.org). These trees are exciting to me for many reasons, but most of all when I realize the complexity of the blessings they represent. These trees have been offered through at least two different secular organizations, and then blessed by two different religious organizations. They have been planted on our campus, although they are unlikely to produce fruit for our community as it stands today. Rather, they promise blessings that will be experienced by people we may never meet.
As people, we are so much more connected than we ever realize. When we give away resources of all kinds (money, education, training, space) we are blessed, and we bless others in our humanity and our need. Furthermore, such blessings magnify, reverberate, and accelerate over time and space as others pay similar blessings forward. At Church of Our Saviour, we hope all kinds of people are able to enjoy our campus and the trees there. I invite you to consider what resources means to you, and what your relationship with resources looks like.