Last Sunday, we made a beginning as we initiated supporting our 2014 Ministry Budget. When we came forward and dedicated our financial covenant with God at the altar of our church we declared who and whose we are. Of course, many of our people were traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, but we expect to hear from these sundry folks soon. What we give the church represents our relationship with God and our desire for our church to minister in many ways to many people—some old; some young. I deeply appreciate believers who remember their vows as Christians.
George Soros, a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist, made an incredible fortune by trading on the currency market, betting that he was right and the rest of the market would turn out to be wrong. Most of the time he was right, or right enough times to build an incredible fortune. The most famous incident in his trading life was in 1992, when he got international recognition by betting that the British pound was overvalued. The British government in reaction to that put a billion pounds into the market, but the market followed Soros’ hunch and the pound collapsed, and Soros got even richer.
It just so happened that a few days later he was to speak at Cambridge. His host introduced him this way: “Ladies and gentleman, this is the man who cost her majesty’s government a billion pounds. The only thing I can say in his defense is that he will doubtless spend the money much better than her majesty’s government would have.”
And indeed he did. Soros is a world-class philanthropist, investing especially in those countries that were formerly a part of the Soviet empire and are now struggling to rebuild their societies. He established a new international foundation for a civil society, and has entered the battle for values of this world. He challenges those who use moth-eaten capitalistic slogans such as “The common interest is served by the uninhibited pursuit of self-interest,” by saying that self-interest must be tempered with concern for other people, for the common good.
Soros said, “Unless self-interest is tempered by a concern for the common good, the capitalist society will break down as surely as the Communist society did.”
There are a number of reasons for being stewards. I would suggest that the most important reason today is to join the battle for values in this society. And to let the church be the community that says with its deeds that we believe life is to be found in giving, and not in getting [thanks to Mark Trotter, FUMC, San Diego, California for several of these noteworthy quotations].