Leader Resource 1: Approaches to Financial Virtue
Terry (the aspiring ascetic)
I’ve come to feel that money is a part of my life that distracts from the more important things. I care more about people than things, and this priority is an important part of practicing my faith. I try to make do with less, when I can. I make small efforts. I see so much needless waste in the world—wastefulness that is destroying our world and the other creatures living within it. My spiritual path has a lot to do with decreasing my reliance on money, and, really, all kinds of material things, to make more space for the spiritual things.
James (the mindful hedonist)
I’ve never been particularly sophisticated with money and I’m certainly not rich. But to me, money is like all kinds of material things, simply a tool for enjoying life. We spend too much time worrying about money and not enough time being grateful for what we have and simply enjoying it. I try to stay in the present and not let my fear get in the way of the abundance. Accepting money as a means to good things and appreciating them is part of my spiritual practice of gratitude.
Janice (the diligent worker)
Money isn’t itself the objective; it’s the result of hard work. There’s nothing wrong with having money if you use it constructively. To be honest, I’d prefer not to talk about money; I was raised to believe we spend too much time dwelling on it, which distracts from the important things. My vocation and hard work arise from a place of faith for me—I work hard because I believe that work makes a difference in the world and hard work makes a difference in me. I consider dedication to my ongoing work part of my responsibility as part of the community, my recognition of our interdependence.
Alana (the saver)
I’ve had times in my life when there wasn’t enough money for basic needs. Today as a parent I take seriously my obligation to ensure my family is taken care of. Supporting them with love and, yes, money is a primary way I practice my faith. I take money seriously because it’s part of that and it’s by the grace and good fortune that I’ve been able to make what I have. It has to be my primary focus to continue to earn that money and to save any extra so my children can have a better life. That has got to be my core spiritual discipline.
Robert (the philanthropist)
I was very fortunate in my work life. I was able to make a good amount of money. I did it with luck, but also with hard work and, as it turned out, a talent for the business I was in. It means lot to me to be able to use those resources in a constructive and charitable way. I take that as a deep responsibility. I give in places that matter to me and that I believe will make the world a better place. I find this deeply and spiritually satisfying, I consider a blessing to be able to do it. I believe it is a spiritual practice to come into relationship with others less fortunate than I am through this giving and in other more personal ways.