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Understanding why you give changes how you give

The most common way a sermon about money goes wrong is when people hear guilt and shame rather than grace and gratitude. These emotions are not helpful. But like weeds in spring, guilt and shame seem to always emerge when talking about money. The antidote is to be clear that everything that is good in our life springs from the well of grace — God’s undeserved and unmerited favor— and the only appropriate response to grace is gratitude. Theologian Karl Barth said it beautifully when he wrote, “Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightning.”