Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Week


It’s First Week at Luther Seminary. New students are being inundated with information about campus, classes, candidacy and everything they need to know as the crazy journey begins. I remember getting a parking ticket the first day of First Week six years ago. Maybe that irritating $35 fee played into my decision to sign up for a financial coach that day – I know several things did.


I’d never taken a loan out or balanced my checkbook for more than a few months at a time. I had spent the whole summer applying for scholarships and grants, but needed to buckle down and organize the responses I was getting. I was several steps away from forming a realistic budget and didn’t even know if I'd have the gumption to stick to it.


I signed up for short-sighted and personal reasons. I wanted to become a money person according to my own definition – I wanted to be wise and generous and self aware and confident when I left seminary a few years later. While working with a coach helped me achieve these goals, my new skills also translated to my professional life. My new found identity as a money person naturally wandered beyond my own wallet as I dreamed about my leadership style in the parish.


Jerry invited me up to share my story, which is always a slippery slope. I could talk all day long about the ways stewardship quietly permeates every class and conversation at seminary. I could share about the ways becoming a stewardship leader has been good for my personal relationship with money, my marriage and my imagination for St. John’s. But instead, I settled for this: If you decide to get a coach, make that learning and relationship a priority. Trust that the uncomfortable places you go and the hard questions you ask will bear good fruit long after you leave Luther. You'll get out of it what you put into it.


Before I left, I told Jerry that I would devote my next few entries to stewardship and seminary. He could point students and/or coaches here to read and discuss ways to live as good stewards during these strange and wonderful years. So use the comments section. Leave your thoughts, ideas, fears and hopes. They’ll inspire what I share next.


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