I am told people avoid church during stewardship month no matter where they go because they do not want to be asked for money. Ask them to serve meals at the shelter: “Sure.” Ask them to go on a mission trip to uphold the suffering: “Why not?” Ask them to join a Bible study: “What time does it start?” Ask them to be on the Properties Committee: “How can I help?” Ask them to remember their church in their will: “I’ll think about it.”

But ask them to pray and plan carefully about a pledge to the general operations of the church and they get squeamish. Some even say “I’d rather volunteer than give money.” This is strange because it is pledging that makes all those serving opportunities possible. Without money, how can we expect anything to get done? Pledges belong in the same ensemble of church practices as prayer, study, worship, service – the gift of time and talent – each being essential to the ministry of our church. But unless you pledge…none of this is possible. Do the math.

Economic ways of thinking dominate our thoughts and have totally captured both candidates’ campaigns for the Presidency. In such times, a pledge is the welcome antidote to the way we have allowed financial markets to control our lives. Many believe capitalism’s greatest gift and our highest individual freedom is the ability for us to be able to consume at whatever level we believe is possible. And it is our obsession with the ability to consume that limits our participation in the flourishing of the whole human family. A pledge as an economic instrument is in fact a total reversal of this madness in consumption and a return to our calling that we are our brother’s keeper. So pledge this October and make a difference – especially for those who are the victims of the obsession to consume beyond what any of us needs.