John Wesley and money

May 29, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

John Wesley was a thoroughly modern, Westernized individual. He advised his followers to do three things with money. The first two were

— Make all you can.

— Save all you can.

So far, so good. The advice is financially sound and rings responsibly in our ears. The third piece of advice might not:

— Give all you can.

Sometime early in his ministry, Wesley found that he could live comfortably on about 30 pounds a year. He determined that after earning that sum, he would give everything else away. And so he did — for the rest of his life.

Wesley stayed on the road for most of his life. He never owned a house, and he never had a family or children to provide for. (His marriage later in his life was to a widow with four children who was financially well off when they married. He made sure that she kept her income and that he used none of it.)

As Wesley gained fame and as he published more and more pamphlets and books, his income increased. He never deviated from his income limit, however, and at the end of his life, it was estimated that he had given away more than 30,000 pounds. He once wrote:

“Not, how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?”

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