In his work, Confessions, Augustine of Hippo (St. Augustine) provides us with one of the most time tested and oft-quoted prayers in the history of the Christian faith when he states, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you."
Through his prayer, Augustine provides us with insights into the very heart of faith: that God forms us and that our formation is meant to bring us into connection with him (Jeremiah 1.5, Isaiah 44.2, Psalms 71.6). In short, the journey of faith is a journey towards deep intimacy where the heart of God shapes and forms our own heart (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).
As followers of Jesus, we are drawn to, invited, called, and empowered to experience a “with God” life, a life that abides in and reflects out the loving generous restful presence of the living God to, in Augustine’s words, the “restless” world (John 15). This is our invitation. This is our promise and our calling. This is who we are all called to become.
But how do we do it?
As I reflect on the life of Jesus, particularly the way in which he called people to follow, it’s interesting to note that often times before he calls people to engage in a new behavior, he calls them to envision a new reality. The “time has come...the kingdom of God has come near (presence)...repent (rethink your thinking) and believe the good news” (Mark 1.15). Essentially, Jesus’ first challenge is to our imaginations, to re-envision life in light of the presence and will of God breaking into our reality, today. And once we catch that vision (we awaken to that reality) then we must begin to ask ourselves the questions: What needs to change? How do we align our lives with what has been revealed?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about money, in particular, how we are invited to steward our resources in such a way as to allow our hearts to be formed and our lives to reflect the reality that God is near.
This Sunday, we will conclude our series, Money Matters, with a final reflection on the role our imagination plays in our practice of financial stewardship and how we can begin to experience the rest of God when it comes to our money. We hope you join us.