Mixing God with Money

This helpful book gives practical financial guidance, relevant to all, as well as insights into particular issues in African Culture. For example Dennis encourages a work ethic (saying that disposable income and money for leisure follow hard work and that Africans can be surprised to discover how hard people in the West work for the money that they earn) and talks of the problems of debt, bribery, and hyperinflation.

Particular things that I found challenging or encouraging were:

The need to pray and to see purchases as a gift from God, not just calculate how many months wages are needed to afford them. This encourages me to put into practice afresh a long-held belief that we should not focus on employment as a source of money, but see wages as a gift from God that happens to be channelled in that way.

Money is seen as something that can take us over, and in that sense is personal rather than morally neutral. So we need to guard against greed and hoarding, and pray and wait when considering purchases.

Dennis defines success, in non-monetary terms, as knowledge of God for this is what we should boast of. (Jeremiah 9:23-24 and Philippians 3:7-8.)

In an appendix by Ruth Knutson she talks of how we should be “consumed with God's purposes” and not fall for the deception that we need a better job or bigger salary, or be more attractive or intelligent, to be fulfilled – for we are already “complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:9-10).

Dennis is currently Africa Director of the Church Mission Society.

CMS Farewell

Today I returned to CMS for the day to attend a collective farewell, in Waterloo, for those leaving Mission Movement in the current reorganisation.

I've never been to a Turkish restaurant before, but enjoyed lunch at Tas Restaurant on The Cut, followed by tea and cake for a wider group at Partnership House.

It was different to meet with former colleagues, when all except me are still employees. However the positive side of this was that I felt that I was meeting not with colleagues but with friends – and that speaks well for the future.

CMS may have weaknesses, but if working relationships are founded on friendship (mutual care) then that is a strength. After all, it is a Christian Mission Society, and Jesus chose to relate to those close to him as friends.