It was a clear, crisp morning in early November in Minneapolis. I was with my friend Brian Pusateri, helping him with some Broken Door Ministry work. We learned that Minneapolis is home to the oldest Basilica in the US – the Basilica of St. Mary. Being good Catholics, we had to go visit.
There is an aura about the place. Walking up, we noticeably slowed our gate. We couldn’t help it, there is a reverence to the Basilica. Of course, it is a beautiful building. Upon entering, I was immediately drawn to an alcove off to the side that had a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the walls on either side of her arrayed with candles. I was mesmerized. I lit a candle, knelt, and prayed.
It was a particularly difficult time in my life. I had to face the reality of major changes that had occurred. I poured my heart out to Mary for her intercession, essentially surrendering by pleading, “Just tell me what you want me to do.”
After some number of minutes, I got up and moved to a pew in front of the altar, taking in the beauty of the art and architecture. It was then that I heard a voice say to me, “Take It’s Not Your Money national.” I looked around. My friend Brian was across the building. No one else was there. I thought, “Did I really just hear that? Was that the answer to my prayer so quickly and so clearly? How often does that happen? Or rather, was this my mind playing tricks on me in this difficult time?” That’s what was more likely. So I set it aside and went about my business.
Then, another clear sign came to me a month later on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. I was kneeling after communion and I heard that voice again, “Take It’s Not Your Money national”.. No one was sitting right next to me. No one else knew about the experience at St. Mary’s Basilica. I thought, “Oh my goodness, first at the Basilica; now on her feast day, Mary is going to make this happen.”
Fast forward to today, in obedience to Mary’s directive, I have finished the book It’s Not Your Money: Finding the Peace of Putting God First. It’s Not Your Money is my story, and the story of others, of how our lives changed for the good when we fully embraced financial stewardship. I tell of how when I finally took the step of faith, because that’s what it takes – faith, and put God first in my budget – what happened? I gained a sense of peace that is beyond understanding. A peace that only comes from God for being obedient to His word. I hope you will get a copy of the book It’s Not Your Money – 2 even, one to share.Get those at the website itsnotyourmoney.org.
I pray that you, too, will find that true peace. Put God first in your finances and give courageously to ministries that feed, clothe, house, educate, and help the poor and vulnerable. Your life will change for the good. The church and your community will be better off for it. And in that, we will change the world!