By Paul Bowman, Holston Foundation president
In his sermon on “The Use of Money” in 1786, John Wesley famously stated the following:
“Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can.”
It was an admonition to those who called themselves Methodists to do as much as they could to further the Kingdom during their time. It was a call not to be content with one’s own needs but to position oneself as a change agent in their community and the world. I believe the stewardship he preached and what we practice at the Holston Foundation is critical in our collective mission to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Allow me to get personal for a moment:
My father and mother, Chuck and Nancy Bowman, are great examples of John Wesley’s admonition to his congregants in the 1700s. If you have ever attended my Provide & Protect seminar at your church, you have heard my stories of how they do not accept my advice because I am just their kid. However, their lives reflect what Wesley was imploring members of the Methodist movement to do with their lives, albeit life-long Presbyterians.
Over the years, I have observed their practice of these three tenets: earning, saving, and giving. And doing so in a way that does not bring attention to themselves (rewards they may obtain on earth as opposed to Heaven) but in quiet ways: Ways that make a difference to others not accounted for on Honor Rolls of institutions or printed in annual reports.
I recall a time in high school I was noseying around in my father’s office/mother’s sewing room, and I came across a recent check registry. Now, I should note they that were rearing five children, and we lived very conservatively on a farm—most of what we ate came from our garden or the cattle we raised. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to find check records of consistent gifts to Christian ministries, our church, missionary work, etc. I had no idea how much they valued giving! It made an impression on me at an early age of the quietness and humbleness of their stewardship.
At the Holston Foundation, we often work with people like my parents: Quiet people who want to live out the principles of what John Wesley implored others to do for the Kingdom. It is my greatest joy in this work to meet and dream with folks who have spent their lives earning and saving and who now want others to experience the life-changing opportunities of their generosity.
So much is going on in our denomination that gives us all concern. Decisions are being made, churches are leaving or staying, and pastors fret about their futures. At the Holston Foundation, an independent organization from the denominational and legal current events, we live to connect generous, faithful people with where God is at work today.
Contact us today if you need our help practicing the generosity I observed and continue to admire in Chuck and Nancy Bowman. (Please do not tell them what I say about them in my seminar!)